Artist: Masako Ogimaru
Publisher: Harlequin K.K./SOFTBANK Creative Corp.
Rating: Young Adults 16+Release Date: March 2011
So I’m starting to realize that my desire to review manga is directly proportionally to how much I liked them.
The best word I have to sum up this story is “Meh.” After Lizzy’s sister dies, Lizzy takes on custody of her son, Ben. Trouble starts when Enrico, the 2nd crown prince of a fictional Italian principality, shows up and demands that Ben return with him to Italy. Turns out Lizzy’s sister had been sleeping with the 3rd crown prince of said fictional Italian principality. Lizzy ends up coming along for the ride, because Ben’s the only family she has left and because the plot says she does. She and Enrico bond over Ben, and eventually fall in love. Oh, like we didn’t see that coming. /sarcasm
To be frank, the thing I hated most about this series was the almost incessant “He can’t love me, I’m ugly,” and “Wow, she’s really ugly,” comments that came from both Lizzy and Enrico for pretty much the entire story. I get it, guys--- Lizzy isn’t the best looking gal around. I got it the first five times. I don’t need Lizzy to insist that the idea of the two of them together is “grotesque!” when he asks her to marry him (long story). All of their whining seems even more pointless when Lizzy gets the generic Spa Treatment of Instant Beautification! ™ that instantly turns her into a bombshell, even more beautiful than her sister. At this point, Enrico sternly proclaims “You were beautiful to begin with!” and my eyes roll so hard I can see the back of my skull.
I don’t know why I had such a hard time suspending my disbelief for Royally Bedded, Regally Wedded when I thought Cowboys, Babies and Shotgun Vows was just a hootin’ n’ hollerin’ good time. I guess the plot twists were just too big this time for me to give them the benefit of the doubt. There was also the way how it seemed like everyone who wasn’t Lizzy, Enrico, or Ben was out to spoil their happiness for no good reason at all. (All royal people are just heartless a-holes, didn’t you know? Except for Enrico, cause he’s hot!) I know that side characters are useful as plot tools, but don’t make it that obvious, please. Even Ben himself was hardly a character and more just an impetus for their relationship.
The one highlight of this is the art--- it reminded me of a lot of older shojo manga I’ve read, visually setting it apart from the other stories in the Harlequin line. Although, seeing as how I didn’t really like this story, I’m hesitant to try the other manga by Masako Ogimaru, The Billionaire's Secret Baby. Though, who am I kidding--- could I avoid a title like that?
I would skip this one unless you’re a fan of princes, or female protagonists with children. I’m sure there must be something better in the Harlequin catalog. Royally Bedded, Regally Wedded is, at best, merely average.
Digital review copy provided by publisher.