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With Roselle Lim’s second book VANESSA YU’S MAGICAL PARIS TEA SHOP slated to release in August, I feel like it’s only fitting to rave to you all about her first book with a review. I wrote a mini review a while ago, but that really doesn’t give justice to such a gorgeous book as this, so here we are with an all-out review.
(Fair warning, if you read NATALIE TAN’S BOOK OF LUCK AND FORTUNE, be prepared to have your mouth water. At the moment, I am eating a biscuit to stave off the growling stomach I have from writing a review for this book.)
Publication Date: June 11th 2019
Publisher: Berkley Books
Where did I get this book?: I’ve received an ARC through a Shelf Awareness giveaway.
Summary: At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.
The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around–she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.
My Rating: : ☆☆☆☆☆
One thing is for certain: Lim has a gift for creating magical descriptions of food and friendship that make you want to cook up a feast, then invite all of your friends over to share with you. And if you can’t cook, by the end of this book, you’ll certainly consider trying (and please, by all means, do! ♡) Lim’s writing is elegant and magical, a beautiful contemporary romance that borders into the world of magic.
The story revolves around Natalie Tan, a young woman who returns to Chinatown in San Francisco after her agoraphobic mother’s death. As she takes up residence again, she realizes so much has changed in her old neighborhood for the worst, and she is determined, with the help of her grandmother’s cookbook and restaurant, to set things to right.
I enjoyed the hint of romance, which offered a perfect balance to the weight of the story – it gets Natalie out of her head and her house, and provides another avenue to bring hope to the gloominess. However, romance is not the central part of the story. It’s about helping the community, and returning the light and magic to Chinatown. The romance is just a lovely little touch.
This was such a delight to read! It’s an uplifting story about finding courage in the midst of grief and struggles, bringing those around you closer together, and not giving up even when everything’s gone to pot. (why yes, yes, I did just make a food pun.) I loved loved loved the whimsical notes. The magical realism was a fun addition – I’ve always liked to think there is a bit of magic in the world without us really realizing it’s there. It just happens, and that’s what we catch a glimpse of in Nat Tan. This is Lim’s first novel, and if they are all as incredible as this debut, I can’t wait to read her future books!
(Preorder Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop HERE!)