Romance Roundtable 11: Lord Calthorpe’s Promise Part 2

Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where all four editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga. Today we’re discussing Lord Calthorpe’s Promise PART 2!! by Rin Ogata (original novel by Sylvia Andrew). Join us for a riveting conclusion full of Regency mullets, terrifying horses, and queer undertones so lacking in subtlety that they’re pretty much just regular tones at this point.



Ashley: Okay – can anyone recap the first one quickly and explain where part 1 left off?
For the readers

CC: Well, in part 1, we met Katherine, a tall, headstrong, slightly less blond young noblewoman who was living with a hot officer and his mom following her brother’s death / her opportunistic, money-grubbing extended family mistreating her
yadda yadda they argue, they fight, they begrudgingly fall in love; then they’re at a ball and his hot married ex decides to Start Some Shit
cue scene
[vol 2 begins]

Jenny: right — she escaped money-grubbing, abusive relatives by agreeing to be the ward of a hot military man and his mom
they live together
the mom asks her to fake-date her son so that she can make the slutty neighbor jealous
they’re collectively training her to be a ~lady~

Ashley: Lol
Perfect recap

Jenny: and vol 2 picks up w her lady training and the hot military man still a little bit into the slutty (and married) neighbor
i think in vol 2 katherine continues to be a super #relatable heroine

CC: i just realized that basically this book is pride and prejudice and rosamond vincy

Jenny: the manga mashup

CC: amazing
so I guess to start off the discussion
even though I’m glad the creepy terrible cousin died, HORSES ARE TERRIBLE and I don’t know why we as a society pretend they’re not

Ashley: LMAO

Jenny: horses cannot be trusted this is true

Rachel: I did not see that hot take coming but I respect it

CC: I meant to say TERRIFYING but also, terrible



Ashley: I do not wish to offend the horse girls
Also as you know CC ebooks horse is my patron

CC: they are so big and scary and the only thing that saves us from being obliterated by horses is that they no longer have carnivorous teeth


Rachel: Omg that is such a good point

CC: horses get even a little spooked and kick your whole goddamned face right off

Ashley: Oh geez. They’re so dangerous I love them even more

Jenny: i loved this villain death though, tbh
the extended panel



Jenny: bc it was really a combination of horse and branch death
a v disney death
nobody’s fault death

Ashley: That was a GOOD PAGE

Rachel: This death was so brutal!! More than I expected!

Jenny: this whole book has been more than i expected tbh

Ashley: Agree Jenny
A lot of unexpected plot twists
There is one I’m glad never happens: Calthorpe never gives a second thought to the 17 year old

CC: i mean omg same

Jenny: yeah i was glad about that

CC: i feel bad laughing at this but I was grateful for this bitchy friend tho



she was great and also a huge dick

CC: behind every bitchy friend is a bitchier friend

Ashley: LOL I loved her
I liked when this artist got real cartoony with the side characters and long shots

CC: there was a lot of fun goofy stuff in this one

Jenny: agree
i feel like this one was overall better than vol 1
but still the lettering was awful



Rachel: Lol yes the lettering is consistently terrible

Ashley: Omg the lettering ENRAGES me

CC: loved the extreme onomatopoeia sound effects with literally no lettering changes
arial pt 12 font: “crash”
v effective
feel like i was there

Jenny: LOL

Rachel: My favorite onomonomedia was “FRUMP”



CC: oh man my favorite lettering/sound effect was:



CC: def gotta use that thick ass default font to make the cartoon yelling sound effect more emotionally impactful

Ashley: HAHA yeah that one was good
Would AIIEEE again

Jenny: lol bc they know so much about thoughtful font choices
ok i kind of want to talk about the slutty neighbor
i was really pleased w how much of this was about the slutty neighbor
opening panel



Jenny: i def thought this was going in a different direction

CC: lol omg

Ashley: God, alas, we wish

CC: new romance comic idea
an imprint of seemingly straightforward romance manga
except they slide right into queer romance like 2/3 of the way in
instead of reading something with strong queer undertones that veers straight right at the end

Jenny: def, and it’s all about that lizzie bennet/caroline bingley energy

Ashley: Oh my God
Just a hard left into gay

CC: you just keep expecting that JK LOL I AM ONLY INTO THIS DUDE WE HAVE ONLY SPENT 9 PANELS ON moment and it
never comes

Jenny: the dream

CC: just putting that out there; harlequin manga, call me

Jenny: hire CC!

Ashley: agree

Jenny: but! sticking on this slutty neighbor thing
i think this book did some interesting stuff w POV!



Jenny: like, you get a lot from her perspective and from the rape-y cousin’s perspective
about like the pressures their parents have put on them
and why the make the decisions they make
it was interesting
they were really good foils

Ashley: aka, rich people are psychotic
But yeah, I agree, there was an unusual amount of complexity to the side characters

Jenny: DEF!
i think that really contributed to my enjoyment of it
and it’s not something we saw as much in vol 1
i think expanding gave this writer a lot more space to figure that stuff out!

Ashley: True!! Also, the one common thread is that Calthorpe ALWAYS comes off looking like the asshole
Even when interacting with the ex who should be the villain

CC: lol he’s so dumb
i did like that he is dumb + neurotic, which, weirdly, I found v relatable




Jenny: oh buddy yeah

Ashley: Real
He needs to relax

CC: all of his emotional responses need some recalibration
and I think he knows it lol

Ashley: Unfortunately in a Lord, that anxiety also gets expressed as like! Grabbing and mean-kissing
I LOVED when Katherine told him off and compared him to the evil cousin though

Jenny: oh! i want to interject real quick here: i think we did a good job summarizing what happened up to vol 2, but idk if we really got into vol 2

Ashley: Because TRUE!!! And she’s never really like, forced to go back on it

CC: Oh ya that’s a good point

Ashley: So, Katherine starts out really committed to her lady training because she wants to reel in that Calthorpe
But he totally bungles it when he first sees her after months of hard work

CC: then they go to a ball, have a fight, the mean girl gets some comeuppance, some other things??? happen?? and then the skeezy cousin throws Katherine down a well and gets kicked in the head by a horse as comeuppance from the universe and also nature
then Lord Calthorpe & some neighbors find Katherine in the well, they discuss true feelings, and then they get married

Rachel: Lol what he didn’t get kicked in the head

CC: oh W H O O P S i totally thought the horse got him

Rachel: Technically he got hit by a branch cause he was a dummy and he wasn’t paying attention, due to celebrating his evilness

CC: i do not retract my comment on horses tho
horses still scary as hell

Ashley: Lol!!

Rachel: Lol fair!

CC: but! that lady training montage was fun and I enjoyed it

Jenny: same!



Jenny: a great montage frankly
love the face mask

CC: were regency face masks a Thing????????

Jenny: idk
i don’t think so??
but look at how serious and determined she is about that face mask
the most focused relaxation

CC: i thought regency skincare was just soap and facial serum made from the finest mercury / lead / elephant testicles

Ashley: Oh hey, can we talk about how in this weird pseudo-Napoleonic timeline there’s an award??? For like, hottest eligible maiden??

Jenny: oh jeez
what was it — like, star of the season or something?

Rachel: Debutante of the year!
That was nuts

Jenny: p gross!
ranking women by hotness
not good!




CC: to be fair, she got extra points for being “”””easy to talk to”””” ????

Jenny: and for being forthright w her opinions, which was cool i guess

Ashley: I found it perplexing and nice that everyone liked her for being honest

Jenny: yeah usually people don’t love that

Ashley: Like, yeah actually it would be nice if my Moods were attractive because they’re not going anywhere

CC: maybe she’s just chuckling and saying something like “Oh lord so-and-so, you DO go ON”
and they’re like By Jove, What An Opinion
bc that’s about as much of an opinion as you could have in public as a woman in 1810-ish

Ashley: Haha that’s true, she was trained
Oh gosh speaking of
I loved the scene where she ran off in the night to tend to her sick working class girlfriend!!
I was like, now this is romance



Rachel: Yes!!! That’s how it should have ended!!!

CC: riding into the country in the dead of night to nurse her back to health

Ashley: This story was a weird vehicle for other nice side stories



Jenny: i mean
this was great
and tilly was great
i also loved that the brother made another appearance, albeit in flashback



Jenny: (as long as we’re on the gay lover alternatives)
this was v “marry my sister and we could be together forever”

Ashley: Omg ????????????

CC: there’s def something there

Rachel: He’s very Heart of Thomas here :sob:

Ashley: Oh, shit, real

CC: omg yeah totally
can’t unsee it

Ashley: So. How’d y’all feel about the ending?

Jenny: oh before we get there
can we talk about the scene where calthorpe teaches katherine to dance
bc i loved that scene

Ashley: Yes!!

Jenny: like the shitty dance teacher
was so good
and such a dick
and she just told him right off



Jenny: in the best way

CC: also wtf is this even



Jenny: yeah man idk idk

CC: even i know that kissing as a compliment is not and has never been a thing
me, who only knows 5 things

Jenny: bc when calthorpe sees what a dick this dance teacher is, he steps in to ~~ teach her to dance himself ~~ and then they HAVE THEIR FIRST KISS!!!



CC: the kiss in question:



Jenny: WHAT EVEN IS ‘a kiss of praise to a child or a sibling”????

Ashley: Lol yeah wtf
Esp not open mouthed

Jenny: this was a fucked up time!

CC: the open mouthed kiss of praise
like u do

Ashley: LMAO
Hoo I’m tired

CC: katherine is great at calling this dude out and i loved it every time
she is v tough and brave and climbs out of a well because she doesn’t want to die in a hole in the ground
i liked her a lot



Ashley: So good ❤️❤️
I liked that even when they dumped her in a well she was like I AM STRONG

Rachel: I refuse to die in this dumb well!!

CC: I refuse to die!
in general!
213 years and still going strong!!!

Ashley: Hell yea

CC: I like that she was still pissed off at lord calthorp after he mean-kissed her
and that she wasn’t just like “oh cool ur mean-kissing has satiated my justifiable anger
a low bar but she vaulted right over it
climbed over it with painstaking effort

Ashley: Relatable yet again

Rachel: Finally! It took so long to find a heroine to get there

Ashley: That’s so sad and true

CC: i have ze headache



CC: ok but before we wrap up
i just want to salute my favorite side character of all



mrs kendrick tell me how 2 live

Jenny: she was GREAT

I thought she was gonna like, cane her but she just ran her nice baths

Jenny: the best
the hero we need

Rachel: What do you think her LinkedIn page looks like

CC: omg rachel i bet it’s so scary

Rachel: What kind of recommendations have people written

CC: “mrs kendrick is a great teacher who i would never say anything bad about, especially if she was looking at me, also she is great; please stop looking at me like that; i’m sorry; i’m so very sorry”
200 linkedin endorsements for “scowling”

Rachel: Lolllll

Ashley: Omg
I’m gonna endorse the Pome crone in scowls right after this!!

CC: please do~~

Ashley: Life can be sweet

Jenny: link to our patreon special reward of “get a crone to endorse you on linkedin

Ashley: YESSS!!!
Also I liked how even at the end Calthorpe couldn’t be smooth lol
He insisted on being as awkward as possible
And also… Since there was no wedding scene… Do you think they briefly lived in sin?

Jenny: weren’t they always?

Rachel: I hope so!!! She’s gotta test the goods before buying

CC: i mean but also



Ashley: Omg he’s a total Mamoru Chiba virgin


Ashley: Lol we cracked the case yet again
As the official DAs of Harlequin Manga

CC: we need an official badge or something

Ashley: Nice nice nice
Last thoughts??

CC: mine is: this is a Good Dress



Ashley: Yeah!!!
I loved the draping on the stairs, nice details



CC: what a neg

Jenny: the king of negs

Ashley: RUDE

Jenny: but yeah she looks great
fuck this guy

Rachel: My final thought is that I want to know what happened with Ivo! I thought he would be a real playboy but he ended up helping out!

Ashley: I knew he was good all along!!

CC: yeah what a lot of foreshadowing for v little payoff
ivo was hot and i was Into Him

Ashley: He’s like the brunette Channing Tatum of Regency manga
He should be bad but he’s actually good!

Jenny: i mean he did have a mullet though
that’s at least a little bad

Ashley: Lol that’s the Florida in me jumping out like “cute mullet”

Jenny: LOL

Ashley: I wish I could think of a ridiculous British noun
Like a tiddlefrump

Jenny: tiddlywinks

Ashley: LOL we both chose tiddle words

Jenny: tiddlefrump needs to be added to the OED stat

CC: omg
tiddlefrump sounds like a word for when you were expecting to see boobs but don’t

Jenny: ok my final thought
is that i’m still all in on this mom
i love moms and this is a great one



Ashley: She tells it like it is!!!!!!
So cunning yet sweet

Jenny: she knows how to rile him up!

Rachel: I love how she calls Calthorpe out

Jenny: that’s exactly it

CC: every time he’s being a tiddlefrump
she’s there to call him out

Jenny: LOL YES

Ashley: LMAO

CC: i’m just running with it now
sorry y’all

Jenny: no it’s great

Ashley: it’s okay, we’re gonna make tiddlefrump happen
My final thought is
I want to be a rapist-murdering tree when I grow up 😥
I think if I wander around in some highlands and make a deal with a being of some sort it can still happen

CC: +1

Jenny: i believe in you

Rachel: Yes!!! Best possible reincarnation option

Ashley: Thanks y’all, I knew I could count on you

CC: it’s like a variation on the giving tree
and what it is giving
is comeuppance

Jenny: now THAT’S a book to give to children



Join us for our next Romance Roundtable, where we’ll recap Seize The Wind: a Harlequin manga that may or may not be a vehicle for fart jokes — or, at the very least, sexy bandits.

CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
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