Andrew ended his blog post Graphic novels for people who don’t read graphic novels with these words: “Did I not address a genre or topic you're interested in? Did I not name a graphic novel you'd love to see more people read? Speak up in the comments!” I asked for graphic novels for historical romance fans, and he suggested A Bride’s Story, a shojo manga series with three volumes.
If I had been smart enough to read the catalog note that says “Book reads from right to left in the traditional Japanese format,” I could have saved myself the embarrassment of having to ask Sarah how to read manga, not to mention the time wasted beginning at the end and being very puzzled. I’m glad I stuck with it because reading Mori’s book was a magic carpet ride. The detailed art work enthralls; I only wish the inside pages shared the vivid colors of the cover. Kaoru Mori joins Jan Brett and Paul Goble as illustrators whose books I would buy just to ohhh and ahhh over the artwork; sometimes the words distract from the images.
Set in the mid-19th century in the Caucasus region of central Asia, the narrative of A Bride’s Story captives me while I learn about a society where a 20 year old woman marries a 12 year old boy. I admire Amir, the central character, for her talents as a cook, horsewoman and archer. The Halgal and Eihon family dynamics intrigue me.
Some critics fault the book for lack of plot and too much anthropology. I find the richness of the drawings compensate. It is a visual book, and the details satisfy me. It’s not a fast food meal in a bag; it’s a slow-cooked feast.
- Michelle, Adult Services