By Yu Sakurai and Kasumi Nagi. Released in Japan as “Tenseisaki de Suterareta no de, Mofumofu-tachi to Oryouri Shimasu: Okazari Ouhi wa My Pace ni Saikyou desu” by M Novels F. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Emma Schumacker.
It’s been so long since the start of this series that I had honestly forgotten the setup, which is, of course, the standard “disgraced fiancee” story that I’m trying to stop calling “Villainess” when it doesn’t apply. To be fair, we spend so little time dealing with it that it was very easy to forget. But now, as if the author realized that there was more material to mine here, we’re going back to where it all began. Not just as the reigning queen of a foreign country, that would be too simple. Laetitia is also going back to school, which she of course left when she left the country, in order to complete her education. And you know what that means… the horrible guy and the horrible girl who started this are back, and they’re determined to get right back on the “why are you bullying her, you terrible woman?” cliche bandwagon.
Laetitia and Glenreed are going back to Laetitia’s home country, Elltoria. While Laetitia is going to get her education finished while she’s there, the main purpose is the celebration of the King reigning for ten years. And honestly, given how much of a family feud everyone has going on during this, you can see why ten years is a big deal. Sadly, the candidates for taking the throne after the King steps down are a) Laetitia’s old fiance, who is shallow and annoying, and b) Princess Velta, who judges men by how handsome they are and is a conniving backstabber. Honestly, neither one is all that appealing, but you can bet that Laetitia’s going to get dragged into this anyway, protected only by her magic power that is so high that it’s literally unheard of.
It was nice to see the author poking at their own setup, as well as the typical setup for novels like this. The idea that a prince of the realm can dissolve a long-standing engagement with a woman who has been trained for years to be the next Queen, just by shoving her into a fountain and saying, “the engagement is off!”, boggles the mind. What’s more, after hearing so much about Laetitia’s brilliant, talented brothers, who adore her, it’s rather odd that ALL of them were away when this played out. Sadly, we don’t learn WHY this scheme was hatched, but at least learning that it’s a scheme is sufficient. As for Laetitia and Glenreed, sorry, she’s still ludicrously oblivious. Hell, Glenreed’s main issue is that, because he hasn’t told anyone about her past life in Japan, he is jealous of a dog. Who he thinks is a former lover. This is funny but also quite sad. But mostly funny.
A lot of this book felt like the “your series is popular enough now, start spinning out subplots that will allow it to continue for a long time” sort of thing, but it read well enough. And there’s frozen oranges, lest you worry food doesn’t get a look in here.