By Tsuredurebana and Rin Hagiwara. Released in Japan as “Dareka Kono Joukyou wo Setsumei Shite Kudasai! ~Keiyaku Kara Hajimaru Wedding~” by ArianRose. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tara Quinn.
And so we finally get to the end of this series, with six main volumes and three After Story volumes. This is the last of the After Stories and has the least amount happening, as there’s not even a crisis to solve this time, like the mystery from the previous book. This volume has two main plotlines: 1) finish telling Lettie the story of how she was born, which this time does actually involve her birth, and 2) celebrate the kingdom’s founding day, which sounds remarkably like Christmas but is done at the height of cherry blossom season. Mostly what this volume shows off is how comfortable and happy everyone is now, and that all of the conflict and drama from earlier books has been dealt with. The only remaining issue is Viola’s constant self-image issues, which I know the author thinks of as a cute running gag but never fails to irritate me – and everyone else in the household too, judging by their reaction to her worry that Lettie will inherit her looks.
As noted, the first half of the book shows the days leading up to Viola giving birth and the weeks after it. This includes some false labor brought on by insisting on weeding while nearly due to give birth, and also a relatively quick and easy labor – much to Viola’s surprise, as from her perspective she thought it took forever. Lettie is surrounded by adoring family and servants, so the question is how is she not going to grow up spoiled, really. Viola will help there, I expect. The second chunk of the book has the mansion preparing for Flur Day, the aforementioned Christmas equivalent. A strong windstorm may put paid to some of the festivities, but otherwise there’s a relative lack of anything going on here – the main drama stems from everyone trying to get out of hearing the King’s speech again so that they can get to the truly important thing a week later – Lettie’s first birthday.
There is still the occasional reminder that there is ever present danger in this world – Viola is given a number of mazes to memorize and complete, and only after she’s done so does she realize that they’re a layout of the mansion and the royal palace, complete with secret passages and hidey-holes, if she ever needs to escape like she has in previous books. But for the most part this is a victory lap, and it even ends the way a lot of these books do – with Viola discovering she is pregnant with her second child. As I’ve noted before, this continues to be a surprise to me as Viola has not, through all nine volumes, ever really shown any sexual desire towards her husband. Even when given an obvious opportunity, such as coming in to “get warm” after a nighttime cherry blossom viewing, all they do is have cocoa. It’s very pure.
So yes, this book is also a bit boring, but I’ll take that over the classist nonsense some of the main series did. In the end, this was a flawed but fun series, and I really hope one day it hits Viola that she’s gorgeous.