I love a book with a good story, an engaging main character, and a touch of magic. Roselle Lim’s debut novel Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune was a delight, and her sophomore effort – Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Teashop – did not disappoint.
I received an advance copy of the book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.
Synopsis:Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on August 4, 2020
Genres: Asian American, Romance, Magical Realism
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From the critically acclaimed author of Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune comes a new delightful novel about exploring all the magical possibilities of life in the most extraordinary city of all: Paris.
Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people's fortunes--or misfortunes--in tea leaves.
Ever since she can remember, Vanessa has been able to see people's fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.
After her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa sees death for the first time. She decides that she can't truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric Aunt Evelyn shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to California and bonjour to Paris. There, Vanessa learns more about herself and the root of her gifts and realizes one thing to be true: knowing one's destiny isn't a curse, but being unable to change it is.
As I mentioned above, I adored Roselle Lim’s debut book, and this book ticked all the boxes as well! This is a light, magical book about finding your own way (despite family or so-called destiny). family. It also reads like a bit of a love letter to Paris, as well.
Vanessa Yu has a gift she does not want – she can see the future, and the predictions come out unexpectedly and uncontrollably. She’s spent her life fighting the gift (and avoiding the bottoms of teacups) and the result of all this avoidance is becoming unbearable. Oh, and her relationships are a disaster – even a trip to a matchmaker doesn’t end the way she or her family expects. A revered auntie who shares her gift invites her to Paris to try to master the gift. Vanessa goes, but she balks at the so-called rules that apply to fortune-tellers and tries to carve her own path,
I loved her depiction of
Vanessa undergoes a lot of personal growth in the story, from finding her gift, to finding her purpose. (She doesn’t love her job, but staying in it ties back into family loyalty.) I really loved her character, as well as her Aunt Evelyn (as stubborn as she is).
There is a romantic interest in the story, but he perplexes me. For someone who has struggled to find love, I was overjoyed for Vanessa – until I wasn’t. In fact, their relationship is the one element that, in the end, I was less than happy with, but I’ll leave that to you to decide.
Note: the name is a bit misleading, as the tea shop belongs to Vanessa’s Aunt Evelyn (although she has her own kind of magic in her teas and her fortun
If you are looking for a novel to escape in, Lim’s novel catches the magic of Paris beautifully. The sights, and goodness, the FOOD. Her descriptions will sweep you away. Really, just go get yourself a box of macarons and a glass of bubbly, and sit back and enjoy.
If you enjoy magical realism and a light dash of romance, this really is a delightful story.
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