Making Jam in the Woods: My Relaxing Life Starts in Another World, Vol. 1

By Kosuzu Kobato and Yuichi Murakami. Released in Japan as “Mori no Hotori de Jam wo Niru: Isekai de Hajimeru Slow Life” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Jade Willis.

If this author sounds familiar, there’s a good reason. We’ve already seen The Apothecary Witch Turned Divorce Agent, as well as I’d Rather Have a Cat Than a Harem, and True Love Fades Away When the Contract Ends will be out next year. So it makes sense to circle round and pick up one of the author’s earlier works. This one is definitely on the “slow life” end of the scale, as the author freely admits in the afterword. Not a heck of a lot happens here. Hell, we don’t even get to see all that much jam making. But this book basically fulfills everything you want from a a slow life title: pleasant, likeable protagonist, friends around her who help and care for her, and the daily reward of basic tasks. Our heroine is living in the woods, and her host prefers to live fairly low-tech, so it’s all just very… relaxing. That’s the vibe here. Dull? A bit. But not much.

Our heroine (who doesn’t even get a Japanese name) works at a department store, and has come in on one of her few days off, despite exhaustion from overwork, to help out in an emergency… which makes it unfortunately when a runaway truck in a parking garage kills her. Yes, that’s right, we get both “death by working too hard” *and* “truck sends me to another world”. She’s found on the side of a riverbank by a dog, but sadly being sent to another world did not heal any of her injuries. Fortunately, there’s a doctor nearby, and this world has healing magic. As she recovers at the home of the dog’s owner, a former Countess, she’s informed that she’s a Spirit Caller, meaning she can interact with fairies. Unfortunately, this also means she can’t do any magic. And also, for some mysterious reason, she can’t speak. Still, she makes do.

Our heroine being mute is an interesting idea, though I honestly feel that the conversation flows a little too well despite this, even before she gets her magical writing pad. But essentially, this falls into the standard isekai plot for women readers. For male readers, it’s all about accumulating cool powers and multiple wives, while for women it tends more towards “now I can finally relax and not be working myself to death”. Like Sei from The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, Margaret is said to look a lot younger after she’s recovered, and the running gag in the book is everyone giving her headpats, as she thinks they’re treating her like a child. As for her love interest, well, he’s a sullen young man with a tough upbringing who has become stoic and taciturn, but warms up to Margaret and falls in love with her pretty quickly. These are still romances.

This is apparently three volumes total, and I imagine the next one will have her actually visit the royal capital and finding out more about what Spirit Calling entails. Till then, let’s watch her make jam and get headpatted.

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