Cranry Bennett is that most unusual of specimens- a twenty-eight year old woman living in Victorian England who is not only unmarried, but even runs her own café! Even as those around her urge to find a husband, Cranry remains steadfastly single, but even she cannot deny that her house is in sore need of attention. And so it is that she ends up hiring Shirley, a thirteen year old maid whose expertise far outweighs her years…
Kaoru Mori may have made a name for herself with the brilliant Emma, but if that left you with a desire for more extreme maid action, then you may want to try this one-off volume as well. Consisting of five chapters of Cranry and Shirley’s adventures and two standalone maid stories, Shirley may lack the romantic elements of Emma, but if you like historical or slice-of-life stories, this will fit the bill. The only real complaint is that it is over far too quickly- even just a few more chapters would have been most welcome.
Visually, Shirley showcases Kaoru Mori’s typical deceptively simplistic style- character may appear to have been captured with a few lines, but look more closely and the attention to fine detail can be seen. The same can be setting of the setting, which captures the essential look and feel of the era.
Since it is such a short manga, there isn’t a great deal to say about Shirley, but anyone who yearns for gentle slice-of-life stories can at least find brief satisfaction within its pages. It may have been overshadowed by Emma, but it most certainly should not be overlooked.
Volumes: 1 [complete]
Creator: Kaoru Mori