Romance Roundtable #18: Some Like It Wicked (Vol 2)

Welcome to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss a Harlequin romance manga. Today we’re discussing Some Like It Wicked (Vol 2) by Satomi Tsuya (original novel by Carole Mortimer). Get ready for great smooches, problematic Victorian property law, and an extra large order of big, warm hands.

(Missed the first part of this series? Check out our Some Like It Wicked (Vol 1) roundtable here.)


CC: so excited to talk about Some Like It Wicked 2: Now With Actual Wickedness
we’re talkin adultery, arson, and theft!
most of which weren’t just alluded to in flashbacks!

Jenny: the real deal!

CC: Something Actually Wicked This Way Comes
just to give a quick recap to any readers jumping in here: two mildly wicked regency people dance around entering a marriage of convenience in vol. 1 for Reasons; the lady of the story moves in with her potential future husband due to arson bc of her dead ex’s seedy dealings
…maybe this is not the best summary lol

Jenny: two sweet dummies who, for various reasons, are misunderstood by society to be wicked, continuously misunderstand each other

CC: better summary for sure

Jenny: only if you don’t care about plot points lol
there’s dancing! gossip! arson (mostly)!
our girl doesn’t want another sham of a marriage, but her first marriage was such a sham that she cannot tell that this dude is actually into her!
love some clueless couples tbh

CC: I also appreciated
because the bar for this is very low
that this story didn’t take the often-used conceit of dancing around addressing that our protag Pandora’s ex was actually gay and just outright said so

Jenny: i mean yes — love to see actual representation, but also cannot deny some problematique moments

CC: an anachronism I did not mind?????

Jenny: v much so

CC: i mean like, in actual history lbr, he is sentencing this dude to death
JUST TO BE HONEST
it was not easy to be gay in regency times! not an excuse for pandora’s husband at all but the story’s conclusion wasn’t as neat as I was expecting
they sent him to “the colonies”
i mean like, i guess that in and of itself could have been a death sentence depending on where you got sent

Jenny: ah a good point

CC: didn’t like, a ton of people die in transportation in and then upon arrival?

Jenny: some of those bugs in australia will straight up kill you

CC: unexpected colonialism
you could write a thesis on all the underlying stuff here
always something i appreciate in a hot gos romance novel

Jenny: fair, but i will say that it might be easier to write a thesis on the ways this villain is predominately characterized by some of the negative stereotypes about gay men?
like
this lawyer was in love and having an affair w her husband, but bc he’s a gay man he — whoops — can’t keep it in his pants and just had a “fling” with that neighboring duke or whatever?? and then plays it off like he should be forgiven for cheating just bc he can’t be expected to not cheat?
i mean, in absolute fairness, they do kind of do the same thing to the evil stepmother/seductress
and she’s not a gay man

CC: what a ride
also that is v fair, all of it
of all the surprises, the biggest one for me was that the lawyer was not actually trying to murder pandora
until he threatened her at the end tbh

Jenny: i mean
he was a little bit though
even if he says he wasn’t
this is def murder-adjacent

CC: yeah i mean to be fair, that is kind of how FIRE works, my dude
it
spreads

Jenny: but ALSO! how casual! how dismissive!
ANYWAY! enough of me talking about you, let’s get back to me talking about me
not sure if his self-centeredness and his horniess are playing into negative stereotypes or just actual character traits lol

Rachel: to segue a bit, I have a question about the start of this second book
just to get some clarity re: if pandora had actually agreed to get married by the end of book 1
because book 2 def starts out with the duke being like OH WELL WHEN WE GET MARRIED
and i was p sure that was an extremely arrogant thing to say

Jenny: lolol yeah i don’t think she actually agreed

Rachel: also if y’all remember, i was not on board with book 1 lol
and am not onboard with book 2
mostly i hate this duke!!!
even with the super sexy times

Jenny: v fair! he is super arrogant!!
def the fire that happened at the end of book 1 was on the night before she was to give him her answer
and then there was a fire and he saved her and just sort of assumed?? that she needed him to step in
not sure how much of it was a plot to flush out the killer and how much of it was his being Super presumptuous

Rachel: and then he proceeded to get them a special marriage license
WITHOUT consulting her
or telling her what was up

Jenny: the Rush Marriage License, which i’m sure totally exists
but i will say:
when he’s like, “I think it’s time…

Jenny: she’s p good at keeping him in check
not great at it, in the larger narrative, but p good in these small moments

Rachel: true true
i remember when we talked about the last book, one thing we all agreed on where the extreme Romance Pages
which i do think are still very well done in this book

Jenny: oh god yes! i love me some bubbles and sparkles and flowers!

Rachel: CC did this live up to your shoujo standards??

CC: a+++ aesthetic, 10/10
v Into It

Rachel: yesss
also this whole ass page
love same lacy doilies for effect

Jenny: it’s so much and i am here for it
also the kiss spread at the end!!
👩‍🍳👌

CC: this book is definitely at its best when people are kissing
and a real mixed bag whenever this duke is talking

CC: now that’s what i call Yikes

Jenny: lolololololololol yeah that was not a great time
there were def some sexy parts in this book though!

Jenny: like
i am just such a sucker for this shit
the we need to be naked now and also touch but not for sex, just for nurturing

Rachel: yes, a very good trope!!

Jenny: i love it!

Rachel: i like that even though he’s an asshole, he’s very concerned with her wellbeing and comfort

Jenny: he is concerned! but also yes still an asshole w this whole “now, take your clothes off”

CC: at least by the end it seems like he’s kinda become more empathetic to her experiences????????

CC: but also, for every one empathetic reaction, you get two “btw now that I’m ur husband, yr body and property are mine” remark
‾\_(ツ)_/‾

Jenny: a real mixed bag this book!
comes right up to the line of being cool and good and understanding, but then just back right down!!

Rachel: i guess we can’t have it all when in comes to Harlequin manga

CC: you know what we got that we don’t usually get tho

CC: look at her! giving as well as she gets!

Jenny: love to see her stand up for herself

Rachel: that’s TRUE
i love that she never faltered when it came to this mean step-mom wife-wannabe
even in book 1 she returned her shade v well

CC: none of that shoujo manga “here are my actual shoes off my feet, Person Who Is Bullying Me” here
bless

Rachel: yeah she’s a nice person to folks that deserve it
and she’s mostly good at being able to recognize who that is
(with the exception of Jessop, i think)

Jenny: yes
and that was, like, the coachman who was stealing from her?
oh shit no that was the main villain, right
lol my b
BUT! there was a coachman who was stealing from her, and she had to pay him some hush money bc he ~~knew the secret~~ of her dead husband’s sexuality

CC: a coachman who got his wig whipped off

Jenny: that was a whole thing

Rachel: oof yeah also, i did not like this scene!!
so weird!!
it’s not a good look to tie a man up and threaten him with a whip
it’s just not

Jenny: you’re 1000% right

CC: if there are any circumstances where it is a good look, that window is very narrow and it is not happening here!!!!
esp not a good look to threaten your/your wife’s labor force with corporal punishment!!

Rachel: yuppp
although i did think this panel was doing a LOT of work!!

Rachel: a really good action panel!!
even with the “jumps off” comic sans

Jenny: there were some really good panels in here!
i feel like we don’t often get that in these books, so — y’know — you love to see it!

Jenny: this is v evocative! p cool to look at! i’m into it!
just the right amount of cheesy!!

Rachel: an interesting contrast of rose print dress and thorn spiral background!

CC: agreed!
i also think y’all were right about those blank panels being used for impact
rather than being lettering goofs

CC: i kinda dig it!
really shows her isolation and introspection

Jenny: same!

Rachel: yeah!! y’all, comics as a medium is good

CC: esp when there’s extra smooching
ya got comics, ya got smooching, what more do you really need????

Rachel: well, hopefully we get more positive lgbt representation but
i don’t know that it’s a thing i’d trust harlequin to really do well
(would love to be proved wrong!!!)

Jenny: lol v fair

CC: a good caveat

Rachel: well do y’all wanna do final thoughts?

Jenny: yeah i’m ready!

CC: yeah same!

Rachel: here’s mine!
all comics should have an afterword comic by the artist

Jenny: yes!! i love it!!

CC: +1
I loved the ones in both volumes!
ok here’s mine:

CC: LOL I WISH U WOULD THO

Jenny: yeah would love to see what that actually looks like

CC: wish this book had 100% less “i own your property under english law lmao” and 100% more partnership, anachronisms be damned

Jenny: v real!!
my final thought is mostly just:

Jenny: big warm hands
big warm hands

Rachel: GIRL you KNOW what they say about BIG HANDS
big GLOVES
is what you’ll have to have

Jenny: his heart is as big as his hands is as big as his penis

Rachel: lolllll

Jenny: AND THEY ALL MAKE ME FEEL SO SAFE
an important point from this screenshot^^
that’s nice! you love to see it!
i mean, perhaps they should not make her feel that way, bc he’s kind of an asshole the whole time and that doesn’t exactly stop being true at any point
but still! this is how she feels — she’s telling us — and i like to see a woman feel safe!
would love some more of that

CC: same

Rachel: yesssss!! please!


Join us next time for even more Big Moods and divorceé drama in our next Romance Roundtable, when we’ll be covering Tug of Love. In the meantime, check out our Patreon for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat.

Carolynn Calabrese

Carolynn Calabrese

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.
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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