A Bride’s Story Volume 8
When A Bride’s Story began, it was the story of Amir, a woman in an unusual marriage (because her age was considered advanced for wedding in her culture). Now, volume 8 focuses on another difficult bride, Amir’s friend Pariya (first seen in the second book).
I’ve always liked Pariya, because her struggle is based on not fitting in. She’s too direct and plain-spoken for her culture, with interests outside the typical domestic sphere. Which makes her a problem for her parents, who have trouble finding a spouse who isn’t turned off by her “brusque personality”, as the text has it.
Complicated events have made her challenges play more on her mind. Her home has been destroyed by conflict and fire. That means that, although a potential groom has been found, she has to rebuild her dowry, which went up in the flames. A bride has to bring years’ worth of embroidered goods to the marriage to demonstrate her value, and Pariya is particularly impatient when it comes to that craft. Spending years remaking items feels like torture for her.
Pariya’s lessons learned are inspiring for the reader, both in creating an appreciation for the beautiful designs captured by Kaoru Mori and in affirming the reward of hard work done well. Patience is a virtue, and when making handwork, it’s important to remember how you’ll be looking at it in future and avoid shortcuts.
Mori does a fabulous job delineating the many expressions of Pariya as well, since she wears her feelings visibly. I particularly liked the chapter where Pariya tries to “improve” herself by studying a much-complimented village girl, only for her attempts to be misunderstood. It’s funny but honest in illustrating how everyone thinks the grass is greener elsewhere.
First, though, before spending time with Pariya, we catch up with Anis and Sherine, the friends from volume 7. Anis has brought her adopted sister into her family, literally, by making Sherine her husband’s second wife.
Although motivated by love and kindness, we’re geared to think that this situation will cause problems. Mori’s skilled artistic storytelling is confident enough to stage wordless scenes that show all her character’s subtle and layered emotions, and some of them indicate tension may be simmering. Thankfully, everyone has the most positive interpretation of others, and there’s even a lesson about the importance of honest communication in any relationship.
Although set in a very different time and place, with odd cultural expectations (although maybe not all that distinct from ours), fundamentally, it’s reassuring to see how these couples find and complement each other to build solid partnerships. And it’s all shown through Mori’s incredibly detailed and gorgeous art. (The publisher provided a review copy.)