Summary: Set in Victorian England, a young maid named Emma and a wealthy member of the gentry named William Jones meet and fall in love, but they are unable to express their feelings to each other because of the class differences that keep them apart. To further complicate things, a visiting prince from India (William’s friend Hakim) is also attracted to Emma, and William’s father expects him to marry Eleanor, a girl from a higher class. In the midst of societal pressures and expectations, can true love conquer?
Highlights: The first installment of this manga series caught my interest quickly with the beautiful and detailed drawings and the introduction of several interesting characters. The story is paced slowly (or this could be a result of the difficulty I had in reading the panels right-to-left, as I am not a regular manga reader), and the love story unfolds in a series of interactions between the two main characters. After finishing Volume 1, I’m already impatient to find out what happens next!
The series is rated “Teen Plus,” defined by CMX Manga as “appropriate for an audience of 16 and older. They may contain partial nudity, mild profanity and more intense violence.” According to my research, later volumes in the series contain some nudity in a non-sexual context, which may be the reason for the rating. In my opinion, this volume is appropriate for a younger audience, as it contains none of these elements.
Library Journal listed Emma as one of the Best Graphic Novels of 2007, and YALSA named it as one of the 2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens. It has also been adapted into an anime series titled “Emma: A Victorian Romance.”