True Love Fades Away When the Contract Ends: One Star in the Night Sky, Vol. 1

By Kosuzu Kobato and Fumi Takamura. Released in Japan as “Unmei no Koibito wa Kigen Tsuki” by Maple Novels. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Julie Goniwich. Adapted by Max Machiavelli.

Yes, I will admit that adding a Vol. 1 to the review title is optimistic. The book itself lacks a volume number, and there’s no sign of a Book 2 in Japan over a year after the first book. But the series has the equivalent of five books as a web novel, and this book certainly does not come to a definitive close, so I’ll include it just in case. I also realize that whenever I talk about series that are unfinished in Japan, a lot of people resolve to never read the title, showing a disdain for “abandoned” works getting a license in the first place. But this got licensed, in my opinion, because the author’s works have been coming out over here from other publishers, and they’re all quite good. And this is also quite good. It’s a normal romance novel, with a heroine who doesn’t quite realize how amazing she is, even if everyone around her does.

Fiona is a young woman who is enjoying her job as a secretary/administrator at the country’s art gallery, and wants to travel to other countries. Unfortunately, her father has decided enough is enough, she needs to be married. Which, in this very patriarchal society, means no job, and no travel. And she’s to be married off to her childhood friend Norman… who’s nice enough, but Fiona has no romantic feelings for him. Then at a party where she heads out to a remote garden to dwell on her problem, she accidentally overhears Giles, heir to an Earldom, who is also desperately trying to avoid getting married. After they meet again due to various circumstances involving a missing cuff-link, Giles’ friend Richard suggests the two of them get engaged to solve each other’s problem – after the fuss dies down, they can call it off. Unfortunately, Fiona is falling in love with Giles without realizing it, and Giles is falling for Fiona and definitely DOES realize it.

This book doesn’t really take off until about a third of the way in, when Giles’ sister talks about getting a new painting from a famous reclusive artist. Fiona takes one look at the painting – a fake – and absolutely destroys the man selling it to her, incandescent with rage. As it turns out, she has a very personal reason to be extremely angry. In fact, most of this book is made up of reasons like that – it turns out that Fiona has accidentally become a beloved contact and ally of most of the truly important people in the kingdom, and they love her all the more because she never uses her contacts for any personal gain. As a result, Giles suddenly finds everyone giving him the stink-eye, telling him he’d better treat her like the wonderful creature she is. And rivals suddenly find that this plain lady from a backwater barony can somehow get an appointment for a dress fitting in two days at the ritziest place in the city, where the wait time is normally months.

In other words, it’s an “unpolished diamond” romance novel, and quite fun to read, if unoriginal. But you don’t necessarily want originality in romance novels. I hope we get more of it.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind