May Contain Spoilers
I love the romance genre, and all of the associated angst, which is why I love Harlequin Romances so much. Happy Marriage?! would be right at home over at Harlequin. It has all of the tropes needed for one of their books. We have a powerful, wealthy businessman, a poor, hard working heroine who is trying to pay off family debts, and a marriage of convenience. Who doesn’t enjoy all of that?
I’m kind of torn over Happy Marriage?! On one hand it has really pretty art, but not much substance. Neither Chiwa nor Hokuto can communicate with each other, and they never say what they really mean, which leads to so much drama. But the drama is kind of fun, even if so much of it is contrived.
This volume deals with Chiwa’s jealousy when Hokuto is photographed having dinner with a pretty, young starlet. Chiwa is understandably upset. Hokuto never mentioned that he was having dinner with another woman, even if it was only a business meeting. By not telling Chiwa, it did seem like he had something to hide.
With no one else to talk to, Chiwa begins seeking advice from a handsome colleague she is mentoring. When Hokuto discovers that she’s going out for drinks with Yagami after work, he’s the one to feel the burn of jealousy. These feelings are never resolved, and only get worse as the volume continues. Chiwa meets up with a college friend, and when he offers her a job with his start-up, Hokuto is enraged. He refuses to accept her letter of resignation, and that causes even more friction between them.
I could totally understand where Chiwa was coming from. Hokuto holds all the cards in their relationship. He owns the company where she works, he owns the roof over her head, and he paid off her father’s debts. That makes her feel insignificant and helpless. Hokuto doesn’t alleviate any of her feelings of inadequacy, and he can’t understand why she feels the need to work somewhere else. He doesn’t understand why she feels the need to work at all. That doesn’t help matters between them, and only highlights the differences between them. Chiwa came from a background with few luxuries and a constant worry about money, while Hokuto has never know anything but a life of privilege. It constantly chafes their relationship.
I found this volume enjoyable enough, but I wonder if the series can continue to feel fun and fresh over all ten volumes.
Grade: 3.75 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
A working-girl romance
In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president, Hokuto Mamiya—a man she doesn’t know—at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise. Can two strangers living together find their way to a happy marriage?!
Chiwa Takanashi has married a total stranger—company president Hokuto Mamiya—to get her father out of debt. Hokuto has pledged fidelity to her, but then the tabloids break the news of him dating a famous actress. Though Hokuto has denied having an affair, Chiwa starts confiding her worries to Yu Yagami, a handsome new company recruit. Is the contract they signed the only thing holding their marriage together?