In the late 19th Century, England was effectively split into two ‘countries' - that of the aristocratic and rich, and all those below them. One day William Jones, the young son of a rich merchant, pays a visit to his former governess Mrs Stowmar. When he arrives, there is an instant connection between him and Emma, the hard-working and beautiful young maid who works there. After several chance encounters their attraction deepens, but their difference in social status is something which cannot be ignored. With William's father refusing to give his consent to their relationship and intent on arranging a marriage for him with Eleanor, the daughter of a Viscount, there are an increasing number of obstacles standing in their way. In a society where the relationship between a humble maid and a gentleman is forbidden and one is expected to marry within their social rank, can Emma and William's love survive?
Amira Hergal is a twenty year old woman who has travelled across the mountains near the Caspian sea in order to wed Karluk Ayhan, a young boy eight years her junior. Despite being far from her own village, Amira is a hard working girl who is eager to please and happily adapting to life in her new home. Now she lives a peaceful life with her new family, from going to meet Karluk’s nomadic uncle and baking bread to amazing the villagers with her archery skills. But when her old family decides to reclaim Amira and have her marry another man who will be more beneficial to the village, it seems her happy life with Karluk could be at an end...
Another manga made by Kaoru Mori. It is just as incredibly detailed in the artwork and the historical references used. A must read!
If you liked Emma or A Bride's Story, for it's art, romance or the general style, then you are going to love the other one as well. Both of those were written by the same person, so it's not surpassing that they feel alike.
Both of these manga are written by the same author, and likewase they both are highly realistic portrayals of the time period they are set in; it is painfully obvious that Kaoru Mori had done his research (going above and beyond what the average mangaka or storyteller would) in order to make the characters and the setting as real to the reader as a history book. The art and the relationships between the characters of their respective stories are real and emphatic, and the plot moves ever-forward without feeling rushed. If you like one, I highly recommend the other simply for those qualities.
In Victorian England it is commonplace for the rich and wealthy to have a staff, led by a head butler, to run their households; the Phantomhive Estate is no different. The young and demanding Count Ciel Phantomhive, child owner of a toy company, lives in the grand countryside manor. Sebastian is his head butler, and the epitome of perfection; he effortlessly and gracefully completes his day-to day chores and fixes the countless mistakes of the other employees. However, whilst on the outside all seems prim and proper, a more sinister secret lies just beneath the surface. Sebastian is in fact a demon bound by a contract with the young count; he will loyally serve and fight for him in return for his soul.
Both manga are set in Victorian England, and both have gorgeously detailed artwork. In both manga, each character is distinct and all are likable in some way. The romance elements are different, though--Emma's is more realistic and MUCH less yaoi is implied. I would also consider Emma to be a more adult and more mature manga.
In the castle of Earl Craven, all the maids, including the lovely Priscilla, are strictly forbidden from ever looking their master in the eye. This is because the man they serve is none other than the detestable Demon King! But he's not a demon at all, and isn't even slightly evil, a fact that Priscilla learns when she accidentally runs into her employer in town. Over time, the girl becomes infatuated with the charming young man, but is terrified to reveal her true identity. After all, who would ever accept the love between a maid and an Earl?
Emma is way way way better, but both of these manga are about a romance between a lowly maid and a man from a wealthy, well-to-do family. Needless to say, the man's family/other relations does NOT approve of their relationship, and the two face a lot of conflict because of their differing social status.
If you liked Ibara no Okite, definitely check out Emma. For Emma fans- Ibara no Okite is pretty fluffy shoujo, and nowhere as deep/interesting as Emma, but if you're looking for a light, quick read with similar themes, it might be up your alley.
Twenty-eight-year-old Cranry Bennett is a single woman who runs a bustling cafe. Though she doesn't feel the need to marry, she does need some help around the house, thus putting out an ad for a maid in the paper. However, she arrives home one day to find an unlikely applicant on her doorstep: thirteen-year-old Shirley Madison. Though Cranry would have preferred an older candidate she decides to give Shirley a chance. Together, the two talk about corsets, eat delicious meals and get to know each other.
Aside from the fact that both of these are from the same mangaka, both Emma and Shirley focus on the lives of maids in Victorian England. While Emma has far more plot and character development, if you enjoyed the style and tone of one of these then you are likely to enjoy the other.