A Bride’s Story (vols. 8-9) by Kaoru Mori, translated by William Flanagan
Without a doubt, A Bride’s Story is the most intricately detailed, magnificently exquisite graphic series currently on my shelves. Every volume is a lavish gift to pore over, to enthusiastically applaud, to be gobsmackingly impressed by again and again and again. Superlatives just aren’t enough. To see for yourself, of course, is to believe: make sure to catch up here.
Volume 8 opens with a happy beginning to a relationship introduced in volume 7: “Not much time has passed since Sherine became the second wife of Anis’s husband.” What was a seemingly happy marriage of just two has grown considerably in numbers with young Anis’s innocent willingness to share her husband with her friend, the youthful widow Sherine, and the already-made family Sherine brings with her.
Meanwhile, back in Karluk and Amir’s village, attacking rival clans have leveled numerous homes. Pariya, Amir’s first friend when she arrived as Karluk’s bride, and her family have come to stay with Amir while their residence is rebuilt. Lost among their effects was Pariya’s dowry – the finely needleworked cloths that have taken years to prepare, without which a girl cannot marry. Already fighting a reputation for being brusque, impatient, and headstrong (go, girl, go!), finding a suitable match for Pariya (is her name perhaps too close to ‘pariah’?) hasn’t been easy. Freethinker that she is, however, Pariya just might have her own preference about a potential partner. That she may have to bend to others’ expectations is going to take a bit of work … as well as a lot of (tedious) sewing.
With a few small adjustments to her sometimes gruff, awkward behavior, by volume 9, Pariya has made new friends, even learned (under duress) a few social skills, but (thankfully) she’s also retained much of her energetic, throw-caution-to-the-wind, enthusiasm. She’s slowly getting to know her intended, Umar, as the two are thrown together in unexpected situations, including a cart ride that turns into a lifesaving mission. Shy and nervous both – made more so by the prospect of marriage that is quickly approaching reality – the would-be lovers take hesitant, heartbeat-skipping steps toward their impending union.
Creator Kaoru Mori’s ongoing tale of love and marriage (not always in that order) in 19th-century Central Asia continues to illuminate and entertain, feeding eager readers with unparalleled visual feasts. Here’s to more happy beginnings … (and soon, for some of us impatient groupies, ahem).
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2016, 2017 (United States)