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The Heiress and the Chauffeur by Keiko Ishihara

A Full Review

The Heiress and the Chauffeur v. 1 manga cover

Serialized in Lala DX between 2010-2011, The Heiress and the Chauffeur (Ojou-sama no Untenshu) is a 2-volume historical forbidden romance between a nouveau riche heiress named Sayaka Yoshimura and her slovenly but dependable chauffeur Shinobu Narutaki. Viz released both volumes in 2016, and the company describes the story:

At an all-girls school during the Taisho era in Japan, rumors swirl that heiress Sayaka Yoshimura is having a forbidden love affair with her chauffeur, Shinobu Narutaki! Sayaka scoffs at the rumors, but could a romance between master and servant actually be brewing?
Sayaka wears a crimson ribbon that signals she is at the top of her class, and her classmates all revere her. So when Narutaki ignores decorum and breaks school rules to protect Sayaka, will she stand by him or dismiss him as the school demands?

Sayaka is a smart and popular but sheltered 17-year-old girl who overcomes the accident that killed her mother and took away full use of her legs. With her father absent and overseas, she leans heavily on her servants as family, especially Narutaki, whom she claims is like an older brother to her. Narutaki is a 22-year-old driver who's been in service of the Yoshimura family since he was a child. He is always shirking decorum to help Sayaka and causes problems because of his actions, and while Sayaka maintains her feelings for him are sibling-related, his aren't. Narutaki is whipped for her, and it takes several chapters for Sayaka to realize it and that she's romantically in love with him too.

Overall, The Heiress and the Chauffeur is a solid, short story by the same mangaka behind Prince Freya. (Yep! Besides art, Freya and Sayaka share some character traits. More on that later.) If you're looking for forbidden romances set in early 20th-century Japan, a romance about disabled characters or characters of different classes, and/or stories where the ML falls in love first and hard, check out The Heiress and the Chauffeur.

Learn more about the manga via Viz's site here.

What to read after The Heiress and the Chauffeur:

  • Golden Japanesque: A Splendid Yokohama Romance by Kaho Miyasaka

  • Komomo Confiserie by Maki Minami

  • Prince Freya by Keiko Ishihara

  • Stepping on Roses by Rinko Ueda

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