A Young Lady Finds Her True Calling Living with the Enemy, Vol. 2

By Syuu and Fujigasaki. Released in Japan as “Oguni no Kōshaku Reijō wa Tekikoku nite Kakusei Suru” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Kashi Kamitoma.

The thing I think I enjoyed best about this short series (it ends with this second volume) is that it is 100% dedicated to its title. This is not about a young lady finding romance living with the enemy, though the book does end with her marriage. That’s not as important, though, and the confession almost seems like an afterthought. What’s important here is Bertine coming alive in this new country, deciding that she’s going to introduce new cuisines, spices, and finally start up a hotel in order to gain financial independence and make herself happy. More to the point, her determination enables others to achieve the same thing, with one boy seemingly deciding to change the world just because he fell in love with her at first sight (this is not quite true – like Bertine, the love is actually secondary, but it is there). Oh yes, and we also overthrow a terrible royal family, for those who read light novels for the overthrow of terrible royal families. Like me.

Bertine is not only trying to do great things for herself, but for others as well. Her old friend Diana is the Emperor’s concubine, and she is apparently getting passively abused by courtiers because of it. She wants to gift her an amazing necklace to wear to cheer her up. This also allows her to meet Diana’s son Claudio, a twelve-year-old boy who is second in line for the throne but dealing with his father being distant, his half-brother avoiding him, and his mother being unhappy, so he’s not having a good time. Seeing Bertine galvanises him. Meanwhile, Bertine goes to Cecelio’s hometown, meets his parents, and discovers a ton of seafood and spices that the locals think are boring standard stuff, but to people not on the shore is utterly amazing. It’s time to charge rich nobles to eat some more. Then we get a slightly more serious plot: how about a revolution?

I appreciate that, in terms of the revolutio9n itself, Bertine serves as a passive influence on others rather than a direct part (though she is there). For Claudio, she is a reminder that he does not have to passively stand and accept bad things just because of his birth, but can seek his own fortune. This aligns with the Empire, who want to get rid of the lousy San Luenne royal family and now have a much easier way to do so. In addition, the fact that she and her former fiances (who had to break up with her because of politics) are still close allows them to navigate treacherous waters with ease. Everything is about making good contacts and being a good businesswoman. Until the end, when Cecilio says “by the way, marry me”, that’s her relationship with him as well. Partnership comes first.

That said, I’m glad this wrapped up fast. Two volumes seems just about right, especially give that Bertine accomplished so much in so little time. I look forward to the Soup Forest book, just licensed by CIW, from the same author.

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