We return to to the start of the twentieth century with Dr. Pepperco’s Goodbye, My Rose Garden, as the story of an English noblewoman and her Japanese maid continues. There are secrets abound in this volume.
Within said volume, you’ll find chapters six through to eleven.
A Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Lady Alice shares the story of her love for her former governess Eliza, as well as its tragic end. In the wake of that story, Hanako finds herself harbouring two secrets – including the fact that the feelings in her heart are growing all the more intense.
Goodbye, My Rose Garden explores what happens when you have a reserved English woman and a reserved Japanese woman develop feelings for each other, and unsurprisingly that doesn’t stop them from being any less reserved.
Perhaps things would move more quickly if they were more open with each other, but then you wouldn’t have much of a story I suppose.
Both Alice and Hanako have things that they want to say each other, and much of this volume is spent with both of them agonising over when and how they should actually say those things. Add in a sudden illness and a sudden leave of absence, and things don’t exactly go quickly.
Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with a slow pace, though it could cause some frustration. I’d imagine that plenty of readers would be willing Alice and Hanako to just say what they actually feel to each other. Do they get around to it in the end? I won’t spoil that here, especially as I do find the story that Goodbye, My Rose Garden tells to be quite compelling. From what I know of the era, I think that Dr. Pepperco does a good job of portraying what life could have been like for a noblewoman back then.
It isn’t just reservation and illness that hold back Alice and Hanako having a proper talk with each other. Edward continues to interfere; I still can’t see him as anything other than an antagonist.
Hanako’s sudden leave of absence does lead to one of my favourite things about this volume, though. That is a the introduction of a new character. A rather minor character in Alice and Hanako’s story, but one that leaves quite an impression. Said character is a used bookshop owner, who gets quite enthusiastic when a Japanese woman steps into her shop for the first time. It isn’t until the intermission chapter that we actually get to learn her name. Still, though, with both lead characters feeling melancholy at that point, it is nice to have a bundle of energy like her appear.
I’ll always find it fascinating to see other cultures’ takes on the history of my own culture, and Dr. Pepperco gives us such an interesting Japanese take on very early 20th century England. Whilst there may be a little frustration with both Hanako and Alice being extremely reserved, ultimately, though, this second volume continues to be compelling. Goodbye, My Rose Garden certainly has grabbed my attention.