Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town captures the unique kind of game play that reminds me of meditation. Every day, your character wakes up, collects eggs, milks cows, waters plants, and clears trees from the land. In your spare time, you can explore the different mines on your property, go fishing, or talk to the nature spirits.
But for me, the most daunting task is finding a suitable spouse. Like every installment of the franchise, part of the goal of Pioneers of Olive Town is courting and marrying one of the eligible singles around the town. Will you fall in love with the spunky tourist guide or the quiet florist? Do you see a future with the park ranger or the brooding motorcycle enthusiast? Only time will tell!
Per usual, when I started my farm in Pioneers of Olive Town, my work clearing the land and caring for the animals gave me little time to find a spouse. Before I knew it, I found myself in the fall of the first year without a possible match in sight. I realized that I needed more help than I initially thought, so I decided to get some advice from the experts: romance novels. And not just any romance novels; I chose to listen to the audiobooks of the Bridgerton Series, which is gloriously narrated by Rosalyn Landor.
Now, you might be thinking, “My stars! Another person talking about the Bridgertons!” But when it comes to matters of the heart — particularly in a fictional, unrealistic setting — who better to turn to than a family of the aristocracy looking for love in the early 19th century?
I started with The Duke and I, retracing the steps of the extremely popular Netflix series, which, to be honest, was a rough start. The duke was dark and brooding. While there was a cranky marriage candidate named Damon who walked around Olive Town in his black moto jacket and scowled at anyone he passed, he didn’t seem interested in any of the gifts I brought him, giving me only a brief nod of recognition.
After my failed attempt at wooing a moody man with a mysterious past, I moved on to the second Bridgerton novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me. As I listened to the story of a rake who falls in love with the woman who hates him, I realized that since I had tried to date most of the candidates by this point, it seemed I was the rake who needed to be reformed.
Moving on to the third book in the series, An Offer From a Gentleman, I figured out far too late that I was in the middle of a Cinderella retelling. As a landowner in Pioneer town, I thought I might check for overworked candidates in town, but they all seemed busy with their careers and hobbies. If only we all could possess such a work life balance.
My first breakthrough came while listening to the fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, which is the story of the girl next door finally winning the heart of the handsome young man she’s been pining over for years. I’d been visiting Olive Town’s museum almost everyday, building my relationships with the museum staff. Amongst them, Reina, a budding curator, caught my attention. We already had a great relationship. But I quickly realized Reina didn’t seem to have a lot of…deep thoughts or aspirations, and I couldn’t imagine being attached to someone who didn’t know how to speak her mind. So we parted ways, which now made my museum visits incredibly awkward.
At this point I felt that I may have to listen to the entire series before I was able to find a suitable match. (Why on earth were there so many Bridgertons?!) Book 5, To Sir Phillip, with Love, features Eloise, who arranges her own marriage to a virtual stranger. Eloise has always been my favorite Bridgerton. She’s fierce and practical, always talking too much. I realized I was Eloise in this scenario. While I couldn’t arrange my own marriage, I wondered if there was some quiet man about town on whom I could bestow my attention?
I first saw Iori on a dock, fishing and ignoring the world around him. When I greeted him, he was polite but never said much. It wasn’t love at first sight or a passionate love affair, but our interactions soon just became part of our routine.
We were married in early winter, and as I watched the credits of the game roll by, I realized I hadn’t needed any bells and whistles to find a match and beat the game. I just needed a little bit of luck, time, and patience. Perhaps the Bridgertons don’t have it all figured out after all.