Title: Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune
Author: Roselle Lim
Original Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary, Magical Realism, Fiction, Romance
“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.”
*No spoilers below.
Roselle Lim’s next novel doesn’t come out until spring of next year so I am crying (that is way too long to wait!!). Her writing is mystical, enchanting… unreal. It brought me to a whole other world. My imagination was on high gear for the entire ride. Colors popped out at me, smells of delicious food jumped through the words, and emotions hit me to the core.
My heart burst with love for every single character, the many recipes included added loads of fun, and the MAGIC was real. Natalie (our protagonist and narrator) grew so much from beginning to end, it was absolutely beautiful to read. The pacing of the story was perfect, there were plenty of ups and downs that kept me on the edge of my seat. The romance didn’t take over the focus on her culture or food/cooking but, it was still a part I was super invested in. The ending wrapped everything up with the biggest bow and I couldn’t have been happier. I could truly see this being turned into such a cute cartoon/anime film.
Dates Read: Sept. 03-Sept. 12, 2019
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Such was the beauty of sadness: it transformed the hollowness of the heart into something as precious as the loss it suffered.
Dreams, even modest ones, had a steep price.
A trail of sorrow followed me. When sadness made an appearance in my life, it always brought the weight of the ocean with it.
I held the cat against my chest and sighed. Purrs emanated from her tiny body, waves of vibrations that washed across my skin like the most comforting of massages.
If my regrets and wishes were fireflies, the brilliance of their dance would turn night into day.
The best cooks doubled as magicians, uplifting moods and conjuring memories through the medium of food.
Some people pray to Jesus, Allah, or Buddha, but I worship sublime cuisine. It has been there for me all my life. Food comforts, heals, and is the only lover I will ever take.
My future boyfriend will know soon enough that food is my husband and he’s the mistress.
If only love was a physical quantity that could be measured and weighed so that one could be sure of his lover’s affections.
The diamond rings sparkled on her fingers as she held the cup to her lips. She told me once that she had been married five times and the only reason was because men assumed wooing is a onetime effort. If she had been wooed during her marriages, perhaps she wouldn’t have been as wealthy, but she would have been happier.
Love and inebriation produce the same effects: bouts of joy and impaired decision making.
Every chef was an artist at heart. The key to the most successful dish was to first seduce the eyes and the nose, for if the dish failed in this, no one would want to take the next step of tasting it.
The kitten pushed her head against my hand. I had forgotten to keep petting her. I resume my massage and was rewarded with purrs that sent vibrations across my skin. I’d never known the cure to loneliness lay in feline companionship.
Food possessed the power to evoke memories. I associated every dish with a moment of my life. Nothing transported me faster and more vividly.
Infatuation from a distance was safer than engaging and discovering that it wasn’t meant to be.
My mother had once compared compliments to birds: if you don’t chase after them, they come on their own.
I often wondered how much daughters emulated their mothers with or without their conscious control.
“I was torn between these or hydrangeas. I wanted something big, lots of petals: what a cloud would look like in flower form. You can imagine how the florist reacted when I described it.” His sheepish grin caused me to smile. “Why clouds?” I asked. “Because you belong in the sky among the stars.”
Once revealed, the truth expanded, free of its cage. Trying to coax it back in was as futile as trying to shove toothpaste back into the tube.
The truth was a tricky creature. It was lauded and respected, yet heartbreak, sorrow, and betrayal were among it followers.
Food possessed the remarkable ability to heal and bring people together.
Wishes are worth nothing because there’s so many of them. If they turned into stars, there would be no sky left.
The universe unfurled in such unpredictable ways. We all moved in a constant celestial dance. The song ends and the music and our partner may change, but in order to survive we must continue dancing.
Love is one of those rare things that may seem fragile, but it’s stronger than it looks.
Love, like life, has the highest risk, but the greatest reward. If you jump and fail, the chasm below is endless, but if you fly, the sun will be yours.