Friday, 24 January 2020

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim


Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
Published in America by One More Chapter on the 11th June 2019.

I'm linking up this review with January 2020 Foodies Read at Based On A True Story

How I got this book:
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie fled after an argument seven years ago, and now Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading. 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 mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realise that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along…


Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is a wonderful 'comfort food' meal of a story! Set almost entirely on one neglected street of San Francisco's Chinatown, it depicts the community at a time which is a turning point in all their lives. Lim's gentle prose and whimsical magical realism allows her to tell a story of deep emotional truths without the narrative becoming stodgy. (It's so tempting to use many foodie puns throughout this review but I will try to restrain myself!) At the heart of the novel is three generations of the Tan family, each a single woman trying to find her place in the world and, sadly, estranged from the other two. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is as much a musing on the importance of family as it is on the magical properties of good food.

As a confessed foodie myself, I loved concepts such as the steam from a bowl of soup wrapping its consumer in a comforting blanket. Sometimes I've eaten dishes that created the same emotional warmth. I was envious of Natalie's gift of a historic Chinatown restaurant although not, obviously, of the event that led her to own it. The whole concept of this story appealed to me on so many levels. Perhaps the prose was a little too repetitious at times, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with this book. It's a perfect heartwarming story to ward off rainy winter days and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves cosy domestic fiction with a sprinkling of magic glitter!


Etsy Find!
by Enjoy The Wood in
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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Roselle Lim / Contemporary fiction / Books from the Philippines

10 comments:

  1. I love Chinese food but our local takeaway has started making the curry so hot that my eyes and nose stream when I eat it so I can no longer buy it, which is a shame!

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    1. I've found I'm less tolerant of spice heat in foods as I'm getting older. My favourite Chinese food is sweet and sour with the sticky tangy sauce. Mmmmm!!

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  2. It sounds a little predictable, but maybe ok. Good review! You clearly tried to put the book in the best light you could manage.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. I enjoyed this read! It does end up where I expected, but with interesting diversions along the way and it's a heartwarming story

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  3. I've never been to China Town but this sounds like you enjoyed it.

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    1. I saw the edges when I was briefly in San Francisco twenty years ago, but didn't have the chance to really explore

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  4. I have this one and it is one I want to read in the first half of 2020 at the very least. You make it sound so sweet and enjoyable, but also like it has a good message at the core of it which shines through with the magical realism. I can't wait to feel hungry after reading this one too ^.^

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    1. I hope you enjoy Natalie Tan's story as much as I did!

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  5. This sounds like a read that I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

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