Title: Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune
Author: Roselle Lim
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: June 11, 2019
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.
Natalie Tan was forced to go back to her hometown because of the sudden death of her mother (whom she’s not in good terms with).
The community wasn’t so keen in welcoming her back because of what happened to her mother, but she decided to stay and continue her grandmother’s legacy. She wanted to reopen her grandmother’s restaurant with the help of her grandmother’s recipes.
Natalie is the kind of person who tends to run away and have a fresh start instead of facing her problems. I loved how her journey towards believing in herself and having the confidence to be successful in pursuing her passion was shown in the book.
Aside from Natalie, the side characters’ stories were very interesting too, and I felt that they were one big unit/family in the community (which is very common for Asians).
Another aspect that I loved about this book is the food! There were recipes inside the book and the meaning behind the dish were explained just like in Kat Yeh’s The Truth About Twinkie Pie (which I also loved). You will surely crave Chinese food after you’ve read this!
There were important issues discussed in this book as well such as grief and mental illness (agoraphobia), which I felt made a perfect balance between the light and serious moments in the story.
A book about food, family, Asian culture, magic, and love. This is definitely worth the read!
“This was my paradox in love: to want something so badly, but to also be afraid of being tied down by it.”
“Yes, but there is always hope. Underneath all this is something beautiful. It just needs time and patience to come out.”
“Anything worth having involves some measure of pain and work. Because of this, you treasure it more.”
“Love, like life has the highest risk, but the greatest reward.”
Soundtrack: Apples & Onions by Jess Penner
Buy Links: Goodreads || Book Depository || Amazon || Google Play || Barnes & Noble
About the Author:
Roselle Lim was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada as a child. She lived in north Scarborough in a diverse, Asian neighbourhood.
She found her love of writing by listening to her lola (paternal grandmother’s) stories about Filipino folktales. Growing up in a household where Chinese superstition mingled with Filipino Catholicism, she devoured books about mythology, which shaped the fantasies in her novels.
An artist by nature, she considers writing as “painting with words.”