I went on a .99 cent shopping spree in the Harlequin manga section of the Kindle store recently, so here are some quick takes on bargain romance manga.
Maddie’s Love Child
The Maddie in question in this title is an Australian headstrong leather-garbed interior designer, who enjoys making rich and remote men fall in love with her and then stomps on their hearts. She’s also longing for a baby but not a husband, so she is determined to track down the perfect sperm donor. Miles McMillan, remote and rich British businessman comes back into her life. Maddie and Miles met previously but he rejected her advances because he was engaged. Now that he’s broken things off with his fiancee, he decides to return to Australia for business…and something else. Maddie and Miles start to date, but will her baby making schemes and romantic foibles, combined with his emotional reticence and uptight British ways result in a romance or just a whole bunch of emotional trauma? Maddie’s internal dialogues sizing up Miles’ fatherhood prospects (“My child would never learn his arrogance or cold pride. And I could give it all of my love!”) were pretty hilarious. The art in this title was a little stilted, but generally attractive. Maddie’s personality and forthright nature was refreshing compared to other Harlequin heroines, so if reading about emotionally distant British businessmen falling in love is one of the romance novel tropes that you enjoy, this title was worth the .99 cents.
Expecting the Boss’ Baby
In Harlequin world billionaire bachelors with attractive secretaries end up accidentally impregnating them FAR TOO OFTEN! Michael is a rich emotionally distant man who accidentally celebrates a business deal with his capable secretary Kate a bit too much. She’s now secretly pregnant and harbors feelings of affection towards Michael the millionaire robot, but he is oblivious and doesn’t want any sort of emotional connection with Kate. When he makes his feelings known to her, she promptly quits. Michael is emotional remote because he grew up in an orphanage, his only friends are a couple of other millionaires who dispense warped advice about women and relationships. When Michael realizes that Kate is pregnant, he’s determined to ensure that his child won’t grow up without a father. This was very much a middle of the road title for me. Both the story and art were about average in terms of what one would expect from a Harlequin manga adaptation. This is part of a trilogy, as I’m sure Michael’s millionaire bachelor friends also find themselves promptly married off in later installments.
The Royal Marriage
This title had the vaguely retro art that I tend to enjoy most when reading Harlequin manga. There are plenty of big eyes and flowing hair abounds as Gabriella, the Brazilian heiress finds herself trapped in a marriage with Prince Ricardo. Ricardo has the reputation of a playboy, but when Gabriella’s father dies, leaving her with no family and a will with some very odd provisions, she decides to go through with the marriage. Gabriella settles into her new rule as princess, while trying to figure out her feelings towards her new husband. There’s a bit of palace intrigue, and Gabriella is a bit sassier than the usual Harlequin heroine. Along with Maddie’s Love Child, this was the title I enjoyed the most out of this batch of four manga.
Word of a Gentleman
I tend to take notice when I find a Harlequin title with decent art, because mostly I tend to expect somewhat lackluster art. Of the batch, this had the worst artistic adaptation, with stilted, out of proportion characters. The sub-par quality of the lettering was also distracting. This was a bit of a shame, because aspects of the story were a bit interesting. Clarissa decides that she’s going to hire herself a poor husband in order to get away from the machinations of her evil guardian Uncle and the loutish pawing of her cousin. She fixates on Hugh Richfield, who actually decides to take her up on her offer to pay him to elope with her. Hugh and Clarissa take off for Gretna Green and have some adventures along the way. Unfortunately the happy ending where everybody suddenly becomes rich strains even my willing suspension of disbelief.