Always nice to see a series continue to fulfill and surpass the promises laid down in its first volume. Here, in the second installment of this minutely-detailed look at life amongst the 19th-century nomads of the Silk Road (distant ancestors of mine!), Amir, the bride of the title faces down the threat of violence aimed at her and her young husband; develops friendships with both older and younger women via two different domestic crafts (baking and embroidery); and learns a little more about what drew the mysterious Englishman, Mr. Smith, to her corner of the world.
The detail on the page isn’t just limited to Kaoru Mori’s illustrations, although that’s where the reader encounters it first: it’s also in the web of relationships that binds both Amir and her young groom Karluk to people both close and far. The only thing that seems slightly out of place is the action-movie heroics that Karluk uses to protect Amir when her family attempts to steal her back away. So much of what Bride’s Story special had nothing to do with such things in the first place, so it’s distracting to see such flashy theatrics shoehorned into something that revolved mainly about not just whether or not this young couple would remain together but whether or not they deserved to.
But forget the quibbles. If you haven’t started picking this one up, go back to the first volume and see firsthand why it’s such a standout title; it’s a beautiful series in more senses of the word than one.