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Manga / Goodbye, My Rose Garden

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Early in the twentieth century, a young Japanese teacher named Hanako journeys to England in pursuit of two dreams: to meet Victor Franks — a reclusive writer and her personal idol — and to become a novelist in her own right. It soon becomes apparent that neither of these aspirations look like they have any chance of coming true, but fortune smiles upon her in the form of the noblewoman Alice Douglas. Alice offers Hanako employment as her personal maid, and the two soon form a surprisingly friendly relationship. When Hanako tells Alice that she would give anything to obtain her wish to meet Franks, Alice reveals that she can introduce her to him — but only under one condition.

Hanako must kill Alice.

As Hanako tries to understand why Alice would make such a request of her, she learns more about her past... and little by little, the two women grow closer.

Goodbye, My Rose Garden (Sayonara Rose Garden) is a Period Piece yuri romance manga by Dr. Pepperco. The series began in 2018 as serialized in MAGxiv for Mag Garden, and the third and final volume was published in February 2020.

Seven Seas Entertainment released the official English translation.

Tropes appearing in Goodbye My Rose Garden include:

  • Age-Gap Romance: Alice fell in love with her governess Eliza, a woman significantly older than her.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Edward. He's not as kind to his servants as Alice is to hers, but considering that Alice is practically considered a saint for her kindness toward her staff, that doesn't say much about him. He's outwardly polite to Hanako, but often tries to separate her from Hanako, with his threats becoming less subtle as the story goes on. He is willing to allow Alice to decline his marriage proposal, but the proposal drives Alice further into despair, since she feels as though she can't refuse. As such, Hanako often has trouble knowing what to think about him.
  • Anti-Villain: Edward is the closest thing the series has to an antagonist, as he tries to separate Hanako from Alice, going as far as to offer Hanako money or threaten to reveal Alice's sexuality. However, he does genuinely love Alice, believes that marrying him will bring her happiness and even defends her when people question why he'd bother with someone whose reputation has been tarnished by the rumors about her and her governess.
  • Arc Words: "Black spot."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Edward gets two in on Hanako during the confrontation in the garden.
    • His first is when Hanako tries to assert that she needs to be there for Alice.
    Hanako: If you genuinely care about her-
    Edward: (interrupting) If you genuinely care... then why can you not see that what truly worries her is protecting her family's honor?
    • His second comes at the start of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech insisting that only he can give Alice happiness and that Hanako is a "black spot" that must be removed.
    Edward: Then I shall ask you this. How can someone like you, with no status nor prestige, hope to offer her happiness?
  • Arranged Marriage: Alice is arranged to be married to Edward.
  • Author Appeal: Dr. Pepperco blatantly admits in Volume 1's afterword that they tried to jam all of their favorite things into Goodbye My Rose Garden, including "literature girls," "rainy London," "a friendship between a maid and noblewoman," and, of course, maid outfits.
    Dr. Pepperco: Maid uniforms are humanity's greatest treasure!
  • Benevolent Boss: Alice is not only kind to Hanako, but to the rest of her maids. This stands in sharp contrast to Edward, who, while not cruel to his servants, scoffs at the idea that he'd eat with one.
  • Berserk Button: Edward does not take kindly to people gossiping about his fiancee's sexuality.
  • Better Partner Assertion: Edward does this to Hanako in their second and final confrontation, claiming that marrying him will be more socially acceptable and better for her family's honor than running away with Hanako, even if Alice doesn't love him.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Hanako lets off one, along with a comically shocked facial expression, when Alice buys her a sapphire accessory.
    • Hanako has the same reaction in the final chapter when she learns that Alice ran away from her wedding to Edward.
  • Bittersweet Ending: More on the sweet side, but with some bitter aftertaste. Alice does not die and says no to marrying Edward. She openly declares that the rumors about her are true and she is in love with Hanako. While Hanako and Alice travel together as a couple, it is implied Alice will not be able to return home, and her family's reputation will be damaged for her coming out.
  • But Now I Must Go: Hanako does this in the final chapter, when her time as a maid comes to an end, during the wedding between Alice and Edward, as she thought of travelling to various places before returning to her home country of Japan. But then Alice, who left Edward at the altar decides to travel along with Hanako.
  • Cliffhanger: The second volume ends with Alice telling Hanako that she is Victor Franks. Hanako's reaction is not shown until the next volume.
  • Cool Big Sis: Alice is a loving older sister to her younger sisters Margaret and Mary, all of whom adore her in their own ways. Jane is a good older sister to Alice, even offering her advice whenever she's in a quandary.
  • Costume Porn: With the manga taking place in the late Victorian Era, there's quite a lot of opportunity for Gorgeous Period Dress, particularly in the chapter title pages.
  • Costume-Test Montage: Chapter 1 features a brief scene where Hanako models several dresses Alice gives her.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Edward plays with this trope. He quickly becomes suspicious of Hanako's closeness with Alice, but at the same time, at least professes that he's willing to accept Alice's decision if she refuses to marry him. It's unclear whether his opposition to Alice's relationship with Hanako is because of jealousy or because he doesn't want Alice to make a decision she'll regret.
  • Cute Bookworm: Hanako adores books and is overcome with delight upon Alice showing her the library in Rosebarrow House. When Alice notes her clear love for books, Hanako replies that "love" isn't a strong enough word to express her feelings.
    Hanako: With books, I can endure just about anything. I need them to survive.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Hanako is occasionally drawn having a prominent sharp tooth at the corner of her mouth.
  • The Cynic: Zig-zagged with Jane. On the one hand, she doesn't care at all for Family Honor and tells Margaret that people aren't always as virtuous as they seem. On the other hand, she supports the women's suffrage movement, implying that she's idealistic enough to fight for positive change in the world.
  • Death Seeker: The fact Alice wants Hanako to kill her helps kickstart the plot.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: While Alice is exceptionally kind to Hanako and the rest of the maids, she's also very distant and aloof. Over the course of the manga, she warms up to Hanako as her "accomplice."
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:The story features Victorian attitudes toward homosexuality and women's rights. Hanako, who doesn't share either of those values, comes off as an Audience Surrogate when she's surprised and upset to hear of how things work in Britain.
    • In the first flashback scene, Hanako was barred from even being able to hand in a manuscript because she was a woman.
    • During the Victorian era, homosexuality was not only looked down upon but considered illegal. Alice's reputation is damaged simply by rumors of her orientation.
    • Alice writes her book Gloriana under the pen name Victor Franks, because during that time, women often faced prejudice for wanting to write fictional stories.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: Edward says this almost verbatim during his second confrontation with Hanako near the end of the series, then soon gets to his point- he wants Hanako to leave Alice forever.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir":
    • Giselle asks Alice, her former employer, to call her by her first name as she always has, rather than "Lady Ashton," even though she is marrying a nobleman.
    • After Hanako is placed on a leave of absence, she asks her maid Susanne to call her by name, Susanne sternly rebuffs the request, telling Hanako that servants and their masters exist in separate worlds, and cannot possibly be friends.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of Hanako's students attempted suicide due to being saddled with an unwanted engagement.
  • English Rose: Alice is a pretty young noblewoman from England at the beginning of the twentieth century but it's revealed she's actually a repressed lesbian during a time where any sort of deviation from the norm was social devastation. Alice has become so self-loathing and so fearful of the idea of ruining her family's image that she has become suicidal. Her acting the part of a Proper Lady is more of a mask than anything.
  • Entendre Failure: Hanako hears that Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for "laying hands on a nobleman," and assumes he was a violent man.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The flashback in Chapter 1 shows that Hanako has been visiting the Johnson Brothers publishing company for a month, demanding to speak with her favorite author Mr. Banks and getting annoyed when she's told that she should instead get married. This shows that she's a Plucky Girl who isn't deterred by social norms.
  • Flower Motifs: Roses are, of course, everywhere in this manga, and many rose-centric metaphors and similes pop up, usually in a melancholy context. Alice compares herself to a rose infected with black spot, Hanako muses on how Alice's distant smile was like a rose shrinking from her touch, and Edward uses a metaphor about roses casting darker shadows when bathed in brighter light to sow doubt in Alice's heart about Hanako. In particular, Alice's rose garden is both a place where she can escape from the world and a reminder of how she must constantly hide her true self deep within her. Her saying "goodbye" to her rose garden at the end of the series symbolizes her deciding to live as her true self, no matter the difficulty. Incidentally, the Douglas family manor is named Rosebarrow House, and Hanako's name translates to something like "flower child."
  • The Gadfly: Surprisingly, Alice. In spite of being a classy and reserved noblewoman, she manages to tease Hanako a lot.
  • Gayngst: Several years ago Alice fell in love with her governess, and while the relationship never evolved beyond that of teacher and pupil her parents realized what Alice's feelings for Eliza truly were. They sent Eliza away but unfortunately, the word still managed to spread and it soon became well-known in the rumor mill that Alice preferred the company of other women. This all also happened in the shadow of the (real life) scandal of Oscar Wilde, so Alice fully came to realize how Victorian society looked at same-sex attraction. The knowledge that her sexuality will not only have her bear the ire of society, but also affect her family and their reputation, is what drives her to the despair of asking Hanako to become her accomplice and kill her.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: There's ample examples of both maid dresses and high-society fashion appropriate to the period.
  • Gossipy Hens: Edward's sisters like to gossip about Giselle marrying above her station and about Hanako being a "lion" from Japan. Unsurprisingly, Alice doesn't like her sisters-in-law very much, so she makes excuses to avoid spending time with them.
  • Happy Rain: Volume 1 ends with Hanako and Alice running back to their hotel in the rain, laughing and clasping hands on their Umbrella of Togetherness.
  • Heir Club for Men: Neither Alice nor her sisters can inherit their father's noble title due to being women.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: When asked how she got a copy of one of Victor's books, Hanako hesitates before saying that her hometown had a foreign settlement. In reality, she met Alice's former governess, who gave her a copy.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • While Susanne comes off as stern and a bit classist, it turns out that she was betrayed by someone she loved in the past. It turns out that she sees a little of her younger self in Hanako, and thus cares more for Hanako than she lets on.
    • Alice's closest sister Jane is The Cynic but also secretly works to get women the vote, implying that she believes there are causes worth fighting for.
  • In Medias Res: The story begins at the end of the first chapter, when Alice asks Hanako to kill her. The story then shifts back to when Hanako becomes Alice's maid, has a brief flashback to Hanako meeting Alice, then returns to the present until it reaches the part in which Alice makes her request.
  • Internal Reveal: In chapter 11, Alice revealed to Hanako that she is the author, Victor Franks, that Hanako wished to meet, something that was previously shown to the reader when Alice signs a book with "Victor Franks" and thinks it will be her last tale.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Zig-zagged with Edward. He's perfectly willing to accept Alice breaking off her engagement with him, and is prepared to smooth over any possible complications. However, he is rather bothered by Hanako's presence in Alice's life, to the point of using bribery and threats to separate them.
  • Japanese Honorifics: Japanese honorifics like "-san" and "-sensei" are used in a flashback that takes place in Japan.
  • Love Confession: Hanako and Alice confess their feelings for each other, but they don't get together after it. Hanako had every intention of letting Alice get married to Edward then leave England to travel the world on her own. They don't get together until Alice publicly confessed her love for Hanako and abandoned her wedding.
  • Meido: Befitting Goodbye My Rose Garden's status as a Period Piece, Hanako, Susanne, and the maids of Rosebarrow House are all very historically-accurate maids. Hanako fits the more moe angle of this trope and even fulfills the "falling in love with her employer" trope.
  • Mood Whiplash: Late in the series, Hanako asks Victor(or rather, Alice) whether one scene in the latter's books, in which the protagonist breaks free of her mansion to save the one she loves from a murder charge, was based on herself and Ms. Eliza. Victor denies it, saying the main character "is who I wish I was." It's a heartfelt moment that turns comedic when Victor adds, "Also, Ms. Eliza never murdered anyone," prompting Hanako to sheepishly reply, "Yes, of course." The tone turns serious again when Victor tells Hanako how much she admires Hanako for coming halfway around the world to meet her, then turns comedic again when Victor is about to spoil the ending, only for Hanako to protest that she's still reading it.
  • Motor Mouth: Marie is quite a chatterbox while working at her bookstore, something she says gets her in trouble. She ends up bombarding Hanako and Susanne with questions when they stop by the store.
  • Moustache de Plume: The bookstore owner mentions how there's a lot of speculation about the reclusive Victor Franks, bringing up that he may be a woman writing under a man's name like Emily Brontë. As it turns out, he's correct, as Victor Franks is the pseudonym of Alice.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Alice's surname is Douglas, most likely in reference to Lord Alfred Douglas, the lover of Oscar Wilde.
  • Odd Friendship: Susanne, a stern but surprisingly kind maid, ends up developing a friendship with Marie, a cheerful and talkative bookstore clerk.
  • Official Couple: Alice and Hanako officially get together at the end.
  • Older Than They Look: Alice is startled when Hanako mentions that she worked as a teacher in Japan, making her at least several years older than Alice initially pegged her as. Alice had thought that Hanako was only 17, judging by her appearance.
  • Plucky Girl: Hanako may be an easily flustered bookworm, but she's notably strong-willed and determined, speaking out against any injustice she witnesses or experiences. This is even more impressive when you take into account that she's a young foreign woman in Victorian Britain. It's this unshakable will that Alice witnesses at the publishing house that causes her to hire her.
  • Practically Different Generations: Alice is an older teenager or young adult who is old enough to get married, while her youngest sister Mary is young enough to be under the care of a nanny.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Hanako gives Edward a brief one in Volume 1 after he tries to bribe her to leave Alice. Edward apologizes and backs down but insists that Alice will marry him.
      Hanako: I don't need your money. The feelings we have for each other are nothing to be ashamed of. You talk about trust and wanting to protect her, but the way you call her fidelity into question and risk causing her more pain, that is shameful.
    • Edward gives Hanako one in Volume 3, before giving her an ultimatum- Hanako must leave forever, or else he will reveal the truth about her and Alice.
      Edward: Then I shall ask you this. How can someone like you, with no status nor prestige, hope to offer her happiness? I can shield her from the harsh gaze of society. I can give her a life of comfort and peace. To think that a servant... believes that she is the only one who can make Alice happy? Your arrogance is laughable. You are the black spot in this rose garden. Your very presence is devouring everything she loves. I will remove the blight that threatens her and her family. It is for her own good.
  • Romantic Rain: Volume 1 ends with Hanako and Alice running back to their hotel in the rain, laughing and clasping hands on their Umbrella of Togetherness.
  • Runaway Bride: Alice leaves Edward at the altar, though not before telling all the nobles in attendance she's in love with Hanako.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Edward tries to bribe Hanako to stay away from Alice, she bluntly turns him down, declaring that her and Alice's feelings for each other are nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Alice decides she's had enough of being forced to hide her true feelings, so she comes out as a lesbian in front of all who attended her wedding, flat-out leaves Edward at the altar, and reunites with Hanako, intent on being with her forever, knowing that she can't return home.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Ms. Smith notices how strangely close Hanako and Alice are and puts two-and-two together. She helps distract the other maids when they start getting curious.
    • It's implied that Jane knows about Alice's decision to run away with Hanako, since Alice has a private conversation with Jane prior to the wedding.
  • Shown Their Work: Dr. Pepperco did a lot of research on Victorian-era England for this manga, from the clothes the characters wear to the social norms that characters in Alice's position were expected to follow. The series even references actual writers of the earliest LGBT+ works, such as Kate Chopin and Sarah Orne Jewett, with the latter's story Martha's Lady even being used as a point of reference for Hanako and Alice's relationship.
  • Sick Episode: Hanako falls ill at the end of Chapter 7, and Alice helps nurse her back to health in Chapter 8.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Edward wholeheartedly believes that Alice will only be happy when she becomes his wife and bears children, even if she doesn't actually love him, because in that time period, gender roles were very strict, and women were expected to be little more than subservient "domestic angels" who looked after the house.
  • Stepford Smiler: Alice is good at keeping up a cheerful facade but hides her Gayngst and suicidal depression. Only Hanako, whom she's confided in, and Jane, who's perceptive enough to see through her, have some idea of the pain she's going through.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Alice bears a striking resemblance to her mother. When the latter is introduced in a flashback, she looks almost completely identical to Alice in the present day.
  • The Suffragette: Jane, the second of the Douglas sisters, privately tells Alice that she's secretly supporting the Pankhursts' efforts for women's suffrage.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Susanne is initially rather cold to Hanako, treating her with professional respect at best and chiding her for her belief that masters and servants can be friends. However, she does sympathize with Hanako, and is kind to her in her own way, encouraging Hanako to come stay with her if life becomes difficult.
  • Title Drop: At the end of the series as Alice and Hanako are about to runaway from England, Alice's last words in the series are 'Goodbye my rose garden'.
  • Title Drop Chapter: The final chapter is titled "Goodbye My Rose Garden."
  • The Tragic Rose: Alice explains to Hanako how her titular rose garden is a sanctuary for her as a place where she doesn't have to think about society's expectations, but that simultaneously highlights how Alice is constantly forced to hide her true self. Other rose-centric metaphors and similes frequently pop up throughout the story, particularly the one of black spot, a fungus that frequently affects roses. Because her sexuality could not only ruin her own reputation but that of her beloved family, Alice compares herself to an infected rose: something that must be "excised from the garden" before it ruins the other roses. At the very end of the story, Alice's Title Drop signifies her not only leaving Rosebarrow House to travel with Hanako, but also her decision to stop suppressing herself and live as she wants with the woman she loves no matter the difficulty.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Hanako and Alice walk back to the hotel together under an umbrella at the end of Volume 1, despite the fact that, under normal decorum, Hanako should be holding the umbrella for Alice. When the rain starts picking up, the two end up running, clasping hands on the umbrella and laughing together.
  • Uptown Girl:
    • A lesbian version of this trope: Alice is the rich noblewoman, while Hanako is the working-class girl hired as her maid. They fall in love.
    • A gender-inverted variant happens when Giselle, the maid Hanako is hired to replace, marries a baron.
  • Vague Age: Hanako is a young adult who looks like she's 17, Alice and Edward are old enough to marry(and thus most likely in their early twenties), Alice's younger sisters Margaret and Mary are young children, Jane is an older teenager or young adult, Eliza is probably 10-15 years older than Alice, and Mrs. Smith seems to be in her late middle age at youngest. However, none of the characters' ages are explicitly stated.
  • Victorian London: Several scenes take place in London, such as Alice and Hanako's first meeting.
  • Walking the Earth: At the end of the series, Hanako states she intends to travel to various places in the world before returning to Japan. Alice ends up coming with her.
  • Wham Line:
    • Volume 2 ends with Alice making a rather significant confession to Hanako.
    Alice: I am Victor.
    • Late in Volume 3, there's Alice's response when the minister asks her to make her vows to Edward.
    Alice: No, I do not.
  • Wham Shot: In Volume 1, Alice is writing on a page, and signs it "Victor Franks," revealing the mystery author's true identity.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: It is implied that Alice can never return home after publicly rejecting her arranged marriage to Edward, publicly declaring her love for her maid(whom she doesn't identify by name, but says is a woman), and running off with Hanako.
  • Zip Me Up: Early in the manga Alice has Hanako try on several outfits, and at one point she helps her into a corset, lacing it up while mentioning being jealous of her "soft, supple hips."