Roselle Lim does it again! The author of “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune”, had me on the first chapter of her new book, “Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop”, where she immediately introduces her characters, explains the plot through the back-and-forth dialogue, and the multiple references to food and flavors that many Chinese-Filipinos like myself, grew up with.
Many Chinese-Filipinos overseas can identify with the food, the pidgin Chinese learned in schools coupled with the Hokkien dialect spoken at home, and the many customs and practices one has to put up with growing up.
From Roselle Lim’s first rom-com novel called “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune”, the enigmatic Evelyn gets her own story in the second book (though her niece gets the top billing). Lim continues to mix elements of magic into the mayhem her main character, Vanessa Yu, finds herself in. Here, Vanessa tries to get a handle of her gift of fortunetelling under Aunt Evelyn’s tutelage while trying to deal with the cards that fate has dealt her with.
Aside from Lim’s characteristic use of magical elements, Lim whisks her readers to all the best that Paris has to offer–from art museums to exquisite food tastings. She continues to “plate” her stories with food descriptions juicy and tempting enough that you can almost visualize giving yourself a bite off a fluffy, buttery madeleine or digging into a savory crepe filled with smoked ham and cheese. Her vivid choice of words never fails to tempt and tantalize the imagination to going into a truly sensory experience that goes beyond what you read.
But perhaps what’s most striking for readers is the theme of family that abounds in her books. Vanessa Yu is constantly surrounded by well-meaning aunts who can’t seem to mind their own business. She never lacks support and familial love. The presence of her kin provides the appropriate diversions, comic relief, and sentimentality that makes books like these fun and easy to relate to. As Vanessa deals with finding and controlling her destiny, the book reminds us that one cannot really do this alone. Family, friends, and people that fate brings to cross our paths are part of this fabric of social support that we cannot disregard nor ignore.
Roselle Lim promises more books in this universe she has created. We can’t wait to see what’s next on the menu.
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To read more on Roselle Lim and her road to authorship, read a longer article here.