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:
- 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!
- Bittersweet Ending: More on the sweet side, but with some bitter aftertaste. Alice does not die, and Alice says no to marrying Edward. She openly declares 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- English Rose: Alice is a pretty young noblewoman from England in 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.
- 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 word still managed to spread, and it soon became well-known in the rumor mill that Alice prefered 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.
- 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.
- Internal Reveal: In chapter 11, Alice revealed to Hanako that she is the author, Victor Franks, that Hanako wished to meet.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 alter, though not before telling all the nobles in attendance she's in love with Hanako.
- 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.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The author researched the time period this took place to give a grounded series on what certain attitudes were like.
- In the first scene, Hanako was barred from even being able to hand in a manuscript because she was a woman.
- Homosexuality is not viewed fondly of. Alice's reputation is damaged simply for rumors of her orientation.
- 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'.
- 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. In 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 to 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.
- 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.
- Victorian London: Several scenes take place in London, such as Alice and Hanako's first meeting.
- 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, 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."