Goodbye, My Rose Garden is a manga written and illustrated by Dr. Pepperco. It is set in England in 1900, and focuses on a Japanese girl named Hanako who travels to England and becomes a maid for a noblewoman named Alice Douglas.
The manga is licensed for an English release by Seven Seas Entertainment. This first volume contains chapters one through to five.
Love Among the Thorns
Early in the twentieth century, Hanako journeys to England to follow her dream of becoming a novelist. When things don’t work out quite as she planned, she finds employment as a personal maid to noblewoman Alice Douglas, who makes a most unusual request: she begs Hanako to kill her! As Hanako tries to figure out why her mistress would make such a shocking plea, their relationship grows into something far deeper.
The story is started by Hanako travelling to England, where she hopes to meet an author by the name of Victor Franks. Whilst she doesn’t have much luck on that front, it does lead her to meeting Alice Douglas.
Shortly thereafter, Alice takes Hanako in as a maid. The two happen to share a love of books, and get along splendidly.
Then we get to Alice’s request to Hanako. Of course, Hanako is take aback at first, but as the story goes on, it becomes pretty apparent as to why Alice feels the way she does. Without intending to give away too much here, let’s just say that society was not quite as open-minded in 1900 as it is nowadays.
Rumours about Alice do the rounds, and these particular rumours don’t make her fiancé happy.
Alice doesn’t seem to have any particularly warm feelings towards her fiancé, which only adds further speculation to the rumours about her. While he doesn’t do anything drastic in this first volume, it definitely feels a lot like he is being set up as an antagonist.
Never thought I’d read a manga that would make reference to Oscar Wilde, but that is something that Goodbye, My Rose Garden does. Certain events from his life have a certain relevance to the story here, and also help to suggest that Hanako is a lot more open-minded than the majority of English society in 1900.
Towards the end of this volume, it is heavily suggested that Hanako meeting Alice was no mere coincidence.
Goodbye, My Rose Garden is an interesting read. I am eager to see what happens between Alice and Hanako, and whether or not they can avoid heading straight towards a tragic ending. I’m sure their path won’t be an easy one, but that is what makes their story compelling.