Theme for today: Lovely books with Paris & France themes! Be sure to read the posts on Samantha Vérant & Jenn McKinlay too!
Roselle Lim’s recent release, VANESSA YU’S MAGICAL PARIS TEA SHOP, maintains the charm, elegance and lyricism as her debut, NATALIE TAN’S BOOK OF LOVE AND FORTUNE, with the added appeal of a Parisian setting.
Lim’s characters are Chinese-American and the mystical threads that weave through her books manage to tie in to the mythos of ancient Chinese magic and superstition, while deftly keeping the storylines modern and fresh.
In this storyline, main character Vanessa definitely considers her gift much more of a burden, but when she goes to Paris to study with her aunt, she discovers a new city, a possible new love, and an eclectic new array of friends and acquaintances might be just the catalysts she needs to effect an unexpected but welcome change.
While Lim is telling a vividly personal tale that mainly revolves around the Parisian transplant Vanessa, she also shines a light on the racism and stereotyping that impedes fair play around the globe. Of course in the story the good guys thrive in the end and love lands gently on a number of couples, but the plot element serves as a good reminder that paying attention and calling out bad behavior can change lives for the better, while ignoring it benefits the worst characters, both in fiction and in real life.
Lim’s writing is graceful and accomplished, allowing her to tell a layered, imaginative, entrancing tale with the lyricism and radiance it deserves.
I love magic in my fiction, and Lim constructs it beautifully. I’ve been enchanted by both books and highly recommend them if you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering them yet.
VANESSA YU’S MAGICAL PARIS TEA SHOP
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 tealeaves.
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.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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