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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?
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.
Both manga are by the same author and display her love for the subject of victorian maids, as well as her attention to detail and depth of research. These are beautifully drawn series which depict domestic service realistically. Shirley is a series of loosely connected vignettes whereas Emma is a wonderful, fully plotted saga, but I enjoyed one as much as the other.
F-mi Y-naga is a mangaka whose life revolves around three things: work, sleep… and food! One day, the food-loving F-mi gets an assignment to introduce people to fine dining around the city and – with various friends in tow – she commences a gastronomic tour of Tokyo restaurants. From plates of Italian seafood salad with her room-mate S-Hara and rich French cuisine with fellow foodie, O-ta, to Sushi with her gay friend A-Dou and all you can eat Chinese dim-sum with her secret crush, F-mi is intent on eating her way around the world one dish at a time.
Shirley and Not Love But Delicious Foods are delightfully mundane one-volume slice-of-life stories. With little romance to muddle things up, both are simply characters talking to each other, getting to know each other, and going about their day-to-day lives. Very relaxing.
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood lies the Amber Teahouse, run by Seriho Inukai who, despite her 25 years, is as youthful-looking and absent-minded as any schoolgirl. Her flighty personality worries her secret admirer, a regular customer named Sarasa, so the girl asks for a job so she can keep her eye on Seriho. Along with Sarasa's friends from school, the jinx-obsessed Haru, and carpentry whiz Hinoka, the girls discuss ideas for new teas, go shopping, and try to create happy memories.