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A Bride’s Story (Vol. 11)

This volume picks up right where the last picked off: with Talas reuniting with Mr. Smith in Ankara. Her story is told here. When she and Mr. Smith parted the first time, she was deeply unhappy. She got married so her elderly mother wouldn’t worry about her, but she confessed her feelings for Mr. Smith to her new husband. Wanting to make her happy, they set off for Ankara under the guise of going on a pilgrimage to pray for a long and prosperous marriage. As Talas and her husband wait in Ankara, she asks him to pawn her jewelry and possessions for more money so they can stay longer. When they find him, she begs him to take her with on the rest of his adventures… to which Mr. Smith agrees, despite the dangers that may be in store for her. As they travel to the port town Antalya, taking pictures all the way, they find something they may not expect…

Ahhh I loved this volume (I mean, I love all of them, but this one in particular) because it took place mostly in Turkey. The change of scenery – from the wide plains of Karluk’s introspective journey to the crowded and noisy towns – is nice from a storytelling point of view. What’s also fun is further connection of story threads not previously thought related. Mr. Smith makes a comment about wishing he hadn’t thrown away his pocket watch – only for it’s story to be told and it to reappear 😉

There was also a short story at the beginning about winter with Amir and Karluk’s family that was brisk, cold, and poetic.

As always, looking forward to the next volume!

– Kathleen

Mori, Kaoru. A Bride’s Story (Vol. 11). 2019.

A Bride’s Story (Vol. 10)

Karluk and Amir make a visit to her clan, but Karluk is staying for a while. He wants to learn the bow, how to hunt, and generally how his in-laws live. He’s even given a golden eagle to teach how to hunt. He starts to distance himself from Amir to try to show his growth and independence. He doubts himself… is he really manly enough for her? Meanwhile, Mr. Smith and Ali have finally made it to Ankara and met his friend, Hawkins. Though Mr. Smith wants to retrace his steps and photograph his findings, the war with Russia is getting very bad. Is it enough for him to prematurely go home to England?

I was so glad to see Karluk in the spotlight in this volume. Though Amir is the main character, we haven’t gotten a very clear picture of him until now. He went through some much-needed character development, and though he went through a lot of it in this volume, it didn’t feel rushed at all. It still moved at a leisurely pace, and there was a chapter dedicated solely to golden eagles and how they were used for hawking to break up the emotional content. His conversation with Amir – where they confess their feelings for one another – felt earned and well deserved. (Also made me tear up)

Upon finishing this volume, it occurred to me that I’ve never made it this far in a manga before! This one really speaks to me. The historical setting lines up with my interests. Though romance is a huge part of the story, it’s not cheesy, over the top, or melodramatic, and progresses organically. It’s a slice of life story, which is slow moving and focused on showing everyday things, not necessarily grand adventures or deep philosophical questions. This, coupled with the fact that it’s a manga, is definitely outside of my normal reading zone, but I am so happy I gave it a chance. I hope one day to find more manga like it!

Kathleen

Mori, Kaoru. A Bride’s Story (Vol. 10). 2018.

A Bride’s Story (Vol. 9)

In this volume, we return to Pariya and Umar’s story. Pariya’s family is finishing rebuilding their house and the family’s business, and so Pariya’s father is starting to move faster on her marriage negotiations. Though her friendship with Kamola and other village girls is slowly sharpening her social skills, Pariya still frequently stumbles over her words, especially when it comes to Umar. An opportunity arises for them to run an errand together to the next town over, but they have trouble on the way back and are forced to stay the night in a stranger’s house. Though the reason is innocent enough, the fact that it happened may very well be enough for their engagement to be called off. Can they keep their stopover a secret from the rest of their village?

This volume also featured short stories about other characters, such as Amir, Sherine and Anis, and the twins Laila and Leyli.

The more this story progresses, the more I appreciate the wide variety of female characters within it. Pariya’s arc is turning into one of the most interesting and satisfying. She is strong, independent, and possesses other masculine qualities about her. But, she’s also very shy and fumbles over her words, sometimes to her detriment as others often mistake her meaning. She is learning to be more open and communicate clearly with who she hopes to be her future spouse – and that’s not an easy thing to do at the best of times. The main thing is, we see her trying and bettering herself in a way that is organic and never feels forced.

Though we do get this vast array of women who are very different, they are all supportive of each other. Amir and Kamola, along with some other village girls, offer to help Pariya with her bridal sewing once it becomes apparent she needs help. That’s amazing! That’s something that the world needs more of!

As ever, looking forward to the next volume.

-Kathleen

Mori, Kaoru. A Bride’s Story (Vol. 9). 2017.

A Bride’s Story (Vol. 5)

The twins, Leila and Leily, are finally getting married! There is so much to do and prepare: their wedding attire, the feast for the guests, and more! The day approaches, but as custom dictates, the brides cannot participate in any of the festivities. They’re instead expected to sit quietly and await their grooms. If they thought snagging husbands was hard, they’re in for a trial on their own wedding day! Of course, Mr. Smith is there, taking notes and asking questions on every aspect of the wedding festivities, but it will soon be time for him to resume his journey to Ankara. Amir has taken in an injured hawk and is trying to nurse it back to health. She worries it won’t be able to fly again, but Karluk is worried the hawk is getting more attention from his wife than he is! How does he navigate these feelings of jealousy?

So far, I haven’t minded that the series is in black and white – but man, with this volume, I really wish it was. The wedding festivities would have been amazing to see in color… I’m sure it would have been a riot of reds, yellows, and whites – cheerful colors. It is fun to imagine, don’t get me wrong ;D Mori’s drawing is so detailed and precise that I could almost smell the food being prepared. The art of this manga is so sensual and transports you to another place simply by looking at a panel.

I am glad we circled back to Amir and Karluk’s relationship in this volume. There is a beautiful chapter where Amir narrates a day – one day – in their life together, yet it feels like a snapshot of their whole married life thus far. Being engaged to be married myself… it hit a little hard. I feel like we’re digging a little more into the “meat” of the story here, with further character development, and the deepening of Amir and Karluk’s relationship. As ever, looking forward to the next volume!

– Kathleen

Mori, Kaoru. A Bride’s Story (Vol. 5). 2013.

A Bride’s Story (Vol. 1)

I mentioned in a previous post that I’m not really a fan of manga – mostly because I can’t finish a manga to save my life! But I think I may have finally found one here 😉

Amir is a young woman who has been sent to marry her betrothed and live with his family. She’s in for a surprise – Karluk, the young man, is eight years younger than she is! Amir cheerfully takes it in stride. Life in nineteenth century Asia isn’t easy, but the family gets by. They have strong bonds with one another, and Amir is quickly accepted and loved by the Eihon family as if she was one of their own. For twelve-year-old Karluk, it’s a little strange to be married to a woman who’s twenty, but Amir is optimistic, kind, and knows how to hunt and ride horseback. Their bond is something like brother and sister, but could it go deeper? However, Amir’s family wants to take her back… they say that Amir wasn’t the one they meant to send! How can the Eihon family possibly give up one of their own?

Atmosphere is the name of the game with this manga. The art is simply stunning. The amount of detail in the clothing, rugs, and landscapes is overwhelming – in the best way! I found myself stopping and lingering over one page for minutes at a time, multiple times. You’re transported to central Asia in the nineteenth century with ease. Just look at this panel of Amir and Karluk sitting together!

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Isn’t it beautiful? ❤

There are a few family members who make appearances, but there is thankfully a family tree in the back in case you get confused. All the characters, Amir most of all, are charming and absolutely lovable. I’d keep coming back for the art alone, but the characters sealed the deal for me. I can’t remember the last time I said this for a manga, but I am so looking forward to the next volume!!!

– Kathleen

Mori, Kaoru. A Bride’s Story (Vol. 1). 2009.

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