Blogtober (#14) | Review: Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

12:00 AM

Get ready for some beautiful magical realism! Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune really impressed me. And also made me hungry, but that's neither here nor there.


 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's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim 
Rating: ★★★★☆

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Another great read in 2019! I wasn't sure what to expect from Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune mainly because I dove into it without reading the synopsis and had absolutely no idea what it would be like. (Scold me later. Okay?) I'm honestly glad I didn't because it made reading it so much more... energetic? Fun? Engrossing? All of the above? There's just something about this novel that was highly compelling to me.

First of all, this book is one of those rare reads that made me feel A LOT. I positively adored the writing and the inclusion of food (which ABSOLUTELY made me hungry) and really, really just enjoyed the experience of reading this one. Natalie is one of my favourite fictional characters of the year and I won't soon be forgetting her--there was just something about her development, flaws and brilliance, that made me feel really connected to her.

As far as other characters go, the author makes certain that we don't forget a single thing about the story. Everything about it is developed in a stunning manner--admittedly, the weakest point in the novel is the romance but that's not here or there--and I couldn't get enough of it! I wanted to live and breathe so many moments from it. That may have been just my hunger for the food. (No. It wasn't. It's just because the writing is... dare I say it? *Chefs kiss*)

The story's central plotlines were fantastic. Roselle Lim's prose makes everything so dreamy and I could probably spend days in her words, just basking in the way she tells a story. Sometimes, there are author's who's words strike something deeper in us and Lim's work is one of those times. I'm so impressed with the fact that Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune is a debut. The entire thing was crafted so beautifully, I found myself making notes for several passages.

With so much heart, soul, honesty, culture and delicious foods, you can't really go wrong. I adored every page of Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune. Obviously, I cannot recommend it enough and as I'm writing this review, I'm daydreaming about the novel. Even in parts that were less stellar than others, I couldn't get enough and look forward to seeing what Lim cooks up for us in the future.

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