Harlequin Manga: The Tycoon’s Pregnant Mistress and Her Sheikh Boss

The Tycoon’s Pregnant Mistress by Maya Banks and Nanao Hidaka


The Tycoon’s Pregnant Mistress manages to hit some sort of Harlequin manga trifecta, because the pregnant mistress in question gets cast off, kidnapped, and develops amnesia in the first 30 pages! The woman with the eventful life is Marley, and her boss is a slightly dimwitted Greek tycoon named Chrysander. Marley finds out that she’s pregnant and attempts to have a meaningful talk about their relationship with Chrysander, only to be shut down and promptly kicked out when Chrysander discovers top secret business documents in Marley’s handbag only minutes after his extremely suspicious secretary pays him a visit at their home. While he might be successful in business, Chrysander has very little insight into human nature, as he kicks Marley out onto the street, where she is immediately scooped up by kidnappers, appearing four months later in an advanced stage of pregnancy!

Chrysander is very suspicious of his pregnant former mistress who has amnesia, but he is determined to Do the Right Thing and decides that he’s going to take care of her and her child. Marley attempts to get her memories back, all the while being slightly bewildered by the continued presence of Chrysander’s skanky secretary and his distant nature. The art for this title is about average for a Harlequin manga, it is attractive despite some slightly odd proportions, and while it doesn’t have the lush 80s retro vibe that I tend to love the most in these manga adaptations, everyone’s hair is glossy and there is a profusion of brooding greek tycoons.

Her Sheikh Boss by Carol Culver and Earithen


The story for this manga is fairly predictable, but I really enjoyed the art for this title, which had a loose sophisticated style that reminded me a bit of Walkin’ Butterfly. Claudia is a highly efficient secretary working in the United States for Samir, the prince of a country in the Middle East. She’s indispensible for his business, and he decides to take her along when he goes home to his country. Samir tends to view Claudia as an efficient piece of furniture, and when Claudia goes on her trip she is profoundly dismayed to find out that her boss his traveling back to his family in order to get engaged!

Claudia has developed a secret crush on her boss, and she struggles with her feelings as his family regards her with suspicion. As Claudia visits Samir’s country he begins to see her as a woman for the first time, as she throws herself into new experiences with enthusiasm. His fiancee seems very unenthusiastic, perhaps due to the handsome male servant that follows her about wherever she goes. The art captures Claudia’s transformations and shifts in moods easily and there’s plenty of billowing hair and the occasional camel. While the illustrations aren’t necessarily very detailed, there’s more variation with the paneling and I found myself just as entertained by the art as the story. The complications that keep Samir and Claudia are resolved nicely, and overall I found myself pleasantly entertained.

Virgin Slave, Barbarian King and Raintree: Haunted

Virgin Slave, Barbarian King Vol 1 by Louise Allen and Takako Hashimoto

Available on emanga.com


This manga will appeal to historical romance fans, and people who enjoy a bit of sweeping adventure in their romance manga. Julia is a noble Roman woman who is quite horrified when her city is overrun by barbarians. She is even more horrified when a barbarian chieftain named Wulfric decides to carry her off in order to force her to serve as a slave. Wulfric’s long blond hair makes him look like a slightly more bloodthirsty version of Dorian from Eroica with Love, which I found amusing. Julia sees that Wulfric is far more humane in his treatment of Roman slaves as he’s sacking her city than their Roman masters were. She begins to start questioning her way of life and the way she unthinkingly took advantage of other people’s servitude. Julia is far too self-assured to meekly start serving anybody, and while she does start to fit in with the Visigoths, she also manages to fight back against Wulfric in some amusing ways. The art in this volume is much more detailed and assured than I usually expect to see in Harlequin Manga adaptations. As the story progresses, Julia begins to learn more of the pressures the barbarians face, as well as the political struggles that Wulfric has to deal with. My main quibble is that the ending felt a bit truncated, and I’m assuming that is because the adaptation of the story was actually split into two volumes. Still, this would be a fun manga for historical romance fans. I was reminded of Red River a bit, although this story didn’t have the complexity of story found in that manga. I’m happy that emanga.com is releasing some historical romance adaptations!

Raintree: Haunted Vol 1 by Kazuko Fujita and Linda Winstead Jones

Available on emanga.com

This manga is adapted from a series of Silhouette Nocturne Harlequin books, so I was expecting a contemporary paranormal romance and that’s exactly what I got. Gideon Raintree is a detective from a family with varied psychic powers. He can conveniently speak to ghosts, but he has issues emitting random bursts of electricity and thus will never know the joys of owning a smartphone. He is also occasionally visited by a ghost who claims to be the spirit of his future unborn daughter. Even Gideon finds this a bit disconcerting. Gideon gets assigned a tough yet beautiful new partner named Hope, who finds his numerous eccentricities suspicious even while she admits to herself that he is distressingly attractive. Gideon and Hope work to track down a female murderer who may have a connection to the occult, and along the way Gideon finds himself revealing more and more about his odd powers to his new partner. Kazuko Fujita has adapted a ton of Harlequin manga, and it shows in her attractive character designs and capable art. This is another Harlequin manga with much better than average art, and I enjoyed the way Fujita made the murderess look much more haggard and desperate than the other characters. Sometimes in manga-land everybody is portrayed as equally attractive, with just slightly different hairstyles, so I appreciated the extra attention to detail here. The story continues in the second volume of this manga, but the first volume also had a fairly satisfying conclusion. Also recommended!

Harlequin Manga: Ordinary Girl in a Tiara and The Greek Tycoon’s Defiant Bride

I was excited when emanga.com announced that they were releasing a bunch of new Harlequin manga on their platform! I’m going to pretend that emanga wanted to give me an awesome holiday present, because I am always up for reading some Harlequin manga.


Ordinary Girl in a Tiara by Jessica Hart and Yuki Shiomiya

available on emanga.com

Harlequin stories are plenty formulaic, so much so that pulling off a Harlequin romance that is both familiar and enjoyable can be somewhat tricky. Part of the fun for me when reading Harlequin manga is encountering plot elements that I’ve seen before, but executed in an interesting way. This is one of my favorite recent Harlequin manga reads. Ordinary Girl in a Tiara is, as one would surmise, about an ordinary girl who ends up accidentally taking up with royalty. Caro has an intense love of vintage fashion and an interesting past where she went to school with the elite of Europe on scholarship. Caro’s best friend Charlotte is a princess of a tiny European country who calls upon Caro to provide a diversion by dating her distant cousin and rumored fiance Prince Phillipe.

Phillipe shows up at Caro’s door to ask her to be his fake girlfriend, and he is suitably horrified by Caro’s devotion to horrible crochet vests from the 1970s. Clearly he is a man of great taste and refinement. Caro agrees to go along with the charade of dating him, and goes back to his tiny European country only to get caught up in court politics. Phillipe is struggling to establish himself as the future ruler, and the fake couple gradually become a real couple as they begin to spend more and more time together. All too often in Harlequin stories, the hero acts like a big jerk, but while Phillipe does have is standoffish moments he and Caro are a very sympathetic couple. There are elements of humor in Caro’s unending parade of vintage fashion choices, and while the art isn’t terribly detailed, it doesn’t suffer from the lack of fluidity and expression that sometimes plagues Harlequin adaptations. Highly recommended!


The Greek Tycoon’s Defiant Bride by Lynne Graham and Natsu Momose

available on emanga.com

Whenever I read Harlequin manga, I tend to go for the volumes that have the longest and most ridiculous titles involving Defiant Brides, Virgin Stable Girls, or Secret Agent Secretaries (I just found out that there is a romance with the title Secret Agent Secretary, I think I’m going to have to read it). This manga was exactly what you would expect from the title, as it does indeed feature a Defiant Bride of a Greek Tycoon!

Maribel is an ordinary girl (aren’t they always!) who is desperately in love with her deceased cousin Imogen’s ex-boyfriend Leonidas. Maribel sees Leonidas at a memorial service after running away from him years before, but she returns to her life as a single mother, confident that romance will not find her again (OR WILL IT!?). Leonidas shows up at Maribel’s house and is immediately suspicious when he discovers that she has a toddler with the name of his grandfather. The narrative structure of this manga was interesting, because it kept switching between the flashbacks where Maribel and Leonidas are just getting to know each other, and the present day where Maribel is desperately trying to get away from him in order to live an ordinary life. The relationship unfolds in both the present and the past, leading to a time when Maribel will perhaps not be quite so defiant about being in a relationship with Leonidas. I enjoyed the art in this volume. The paneling was a bit more varied and interesting than I tend to expect from a Harlequin manga, and Momose frequently cuts in detailed close-ups of the characters when they are in the grips of a dramatic emotion.

A Dark Fable of the Forest, Vols. 1 and 2

A Dark Fable of the Forest Volumes 1 and 2 by Yuriko Matsukawa

As I started reading A Dark Fable of the Forest I thought that the art style looked pleasingly familiar, and then I remembered that I’d previously read Matsukawa’s other books published on emanga.com, Late Advent and two collections of short stories. While I enjoyed her other books, I think A Dark Fable of the Forest is my current favorite manga by this author, simply because there are some enjoyably gothic elements in the book that are getting me in the Halloween mood.

Dark Fable of the Forest Vol. 1 is available on emanga.com


Alyssa is a student who works at a reporting agency that specializes in paranormal and unexplained happenings. As she’s hunting down a myth about a particular type of rare bird that lives in a forest in Austria where young children frequently disappear, a strange brooding man dressed all in black seems to observe her. Black birds and dark feathers are interspersed with panels showing Alyssa’s investigations, creating a bit of a foreboding air. Alyssa and her companion are rescued by the mysterious stranger, who remains silent as he hosts them in his house, taking time out now and then to brush the hair of an elaborate porcelain doll. Alyssa is determined to investigate the silently mysterious Chevalier Bayard Gran d’Or, but there are events happening in the forest that are being caused more by human greed than the supernatural.

As the story progresses, Alyssa begins to learn more about her mysterious protector as she continues with her investigations into other unexplained phenomena. The porcelain doll ends up actually being a sentient being named Pineau Rouge, but it is amusingly over the top to see the brooding Chevalier carrying around what looks like a miniaturized Victorian girl who has no problem expressing herself.


A Dark Fable of the Forest Vol. 2 is available on emanga.com

The series settles into a well-executed monster of the week manga, as the Chevalier keeps popping up just when Alyssa needs him if she’s investigating murderous plants, unexplained appearances of saints on castle walls, or issues with her own relatives. The episodic nature of the manga is nicely balanced by the developing relationship between Alyssa and the Chevalier, and the suggestion that they may share a connection other than happening to be in the same place at the same time far too often for coincidence. Matsukawa’s illustrations are detailed and attractive, and the Chevalier has enough bird like characteristics in his character design to seem quite otherworldly. Alyssa actually becomes the very type of thing that she’s investigating towards the end of this series, as the monster of the week type story ends up morphing into a climatic battle between good and evil. The ending felt a bit rushed, but that’s often the case with two volume series. Still, I enjoy reading the occasional shorter series like this just because it is nice to be able to read a complete series in a couple days. This is a fun manga to read in October, as the gothic elements are both amusing and creepy. I’m glad to see emanga continuing to translate the occasional shoujo title, as it is nice to be able to stumble across a more quirky story like A Dark Fable of the Forest.

Takasugi-San’s Obento Vol. 1

Takasugi-San’s Obento Vol. 1 by Nozomi Yanahara

This title is available on emanga.com, and the print volume is available for pre-order.

I’ve always been a bit interested in bento, even though I haven’t made it yet. I like the idea of all the cute bento boxes and accessories you can buy, and it certainly seems like a healthy way to prepare lunch. Takasugi-San’s Obento will appeal to foodie manga fans and those who enjoy slice of life stories. Takasugi is a hapless newly minted professor who hasn’t been able to get a regular faculty position since getting his doctorate. While the manga says his subject area is geography, his research methods look a lot more like cultural anthropology to me. While Takasugi is in his early thirties, he gets blindsided with adult responsibilities very quickly when he gets word that his long-lost aunt has died and left him her 12 year old daughter Kururi.

Kururi ends up being a tiny, doll-like girl who mainly presents herself as a blank slate. She does however get extremely excited about grocery store bargains, as she and Takasugi mainly attempt to bond with each other through the process of making lunch for the next day. Along the way they explore favorite meals and how the preparation of a bento can take on a deeper meaning. Kururi shops around to find the ingredients for a lunch her mother used to prepare for Takasugi after he makes an offhand comment about remembering his Aunt’s lunches. When Takasugi observes the differences between Kururi and her classmates at school he concludes that the way to fix things is to put more ingredients in her bento.

Different dishes and geographic variation with food are addressed as Takasugi and Kururu slowly get used to living with each other. They communicate mainly through food preparation. There’s a bit of a humorous element to this slice of life manga, as Takasugi’s eagerness to prove that he isn’t creepy for being the guardian of a 12 year old girl comes across as somewhat creepy, and his colleagues are constantly talking about Takasugi’s lack of job direction. There are some glimmerings of romance, but the focus of the manga is on food preparation, and I hope it stays this way for the next volume. It was interesting to read about the various ways of making bento in the context of this slice of life story.