Title: Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop
Author: Roselle Lim
Publisher: Berkeley Romance
Publication date: 04 August 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Become enamored with the splendor of Paris in this heartwarming and delightful story about writing one’s own destiny and finding love along the way.
Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s fortunes—or misfortunes—in tea leaves.
Ever since she can remember, Vanessa Yu 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.
The day before her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa accidentally sees her own fate: death by traffic accident. 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 America and bonjour to Paris. While working at Evelyn’s tea stall at a Parisian antique market, Vanessa performs some matchmaking of her own, attempting to help reconnect her aunt with a lost love. As she learns more about herself and the root of her gifts, she realizes one thing to be true: knowing one’s destiny isn’t a curse, but being unable to change it is.
I’ve seen Roselle Lim’s debut novel, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune, from a couple of friends since getting into the book community and I am embarrassed to say that I only got to reading it prior to this book tour. Albeit late, I absolutely loved and relished in the story. Roselle Lim is such a wonderful storyteller, her writing is rich and flowy, the characters she brings out are so multilayered, and the stories she tell are very meaningful, specially to me. And so, when I was given the chance to read her sophomore novel, Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop, I jumped on the chance and I am so thankful for Caffeine Tours for having me as a host.
Vanessa Yu has an extraordinary talent, one that she does not want or asked for. She is a clairvoyant, but not by choice but by suddenly blurting them out like wordvomit. She has resisted the talent all her life, even refusing the help of her aunt Evelyn, who is also a clairvoyant. After she makes a dire prediction for her cousin that just got married, she makes the firm decision to take control of her clairvoyancy with the help of her aunt Evelyn in Paris.
I have never been to Paris but I have always had dreams of going there one day. Roselle Lim managed to take my mind away from everything that is going on in the world to Vanessa’s in Paris and how I loved every moment of it. I can only imagine sitting outside a café and having pastries while reading. The author painted such a beautiful scenery and the perfect setting. Roselle Lim did say that this book is her ode to Paris and I am honored to have experienced it from her eyes.
After reading her books, if I think of food in books, it equates to Roselle Lim automatically. The difference between Vanessa Yu and Natalie Tan, is that Natalie is a genius in the kitchen, and Vanessa has good taste for a degustation. The mouthwatering and scrumptious way of Roselle’s description of food is not lost in her sophomore novel. This time, she manages to tell us in words some delicacies found in Paris, and as always, when you read a Roselle Lim novel, you got to have some snacks on hand because you will start craving. I had a couple of shortbread and chocolate chip cookies while I was perusing through Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop. Finally, I would say that I definitely understand how Roselle Lim places the importance of food in her books. I am a strong believer of getting together while having a good meal and this novel definitely proved that specially with moments between Vanessa and her aunt, may it be enjoying Paris, having a silent moment in between disagreements, and sharing their sadness. Food is definitely the way to someone’s heart.
One of the reasons why I love this story is because I find myself in the shoes of Vanessa Yu. This novel is all about grabbing the reigns of your life and taking control. Whereas, Vanessa desperately tried to repel her gift and stood against it wholeheartedly. She was told that this is her life, as the other clairvoyant Yus before her but she said nope, that’s not for me and changed her fate. She managed to find love and her own happiness, she defied tradition but remained respectful and was able to prosper in her decision.
At the same time, I loved the persona of her aunt, Evelyn. She was stern but also affectionate. She managed to show her care but kept herself closed off from the world because she believed she didn’t deserve it and will never have someone love and appreciate her, with or without her gifts. But, the best part about aunt Evelyn was that she was willing to learn and understand. She also didn’t know what was wrong with Vanessa’s gift, and even with disagreements, she helped Vanessa reach the clarity she was looking for. I also love how she had her own subplot. That was such a nice touch to the story.
One of the major part of the story is how family will always have your back, no matter how nosy they are. I really loved how Vanessa’s aunties still cared about her and Evelyn even as they were in Paris. Being Asian, I can definitely tell how quirky and annoying aunties are dependable even if they want to be in your business all the time. It was how they showed their care for you. I really appreciate close family ties in books because family will always have your back, will love you no matter what.
The romance aspect of Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop was also sweet. At first, Vanessa was convinced that she will never have a soulmate, and was even confirmed by the matchmaker when she was told that she doesn’t have the red thread. Likewise with aunt Evelyn, who has succumbed to her fate. However, Vanessa was determined to change that. Marc Santos was an interesting character, I loved their meet cute and how their relationship developed. I also appreciated that Marc had his own character arc in the book. Paris was the perfect backdrop to fall in love, romance, food and art were the ingredients to a magical romantic novel.
Changing ones fate and making a decision to take control of your life is one of the most important things I need to come to terms with this year, and Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop helped me with that. For me, this book is about having courage and accepting big changes in your life without being afraid. It showed the importance of family and how they will love and support you even from oceans away. And most of all, sometimes you have to let a little magic in, love and accept yourself, and allow yourself to be loved in the most extraordinary ways.
Thank you to Shealea of Caffeine Tours for having me as a host. I was so taken by Vanessa Yu and is glad to be acquainted with Roselle Lim’s works! I’m looking forward to more in the future! You can follow Caffeine Tours on their twitter and instagram to keep updated on future tours!
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I created my own playlist dedicated to this book. I hope you take a listen to it while you read Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop!
Roselle Lim was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada as a child. She lived in north Scarborough in a diverse, Asian neighbourhood.
She found her love of writing by listening to her lola (paternal grandmother’s) stories about Filipino folktales. Growing up in a household where Chinese superstition mingled with Filipino Catholicism, she devoured books about mythology, which shaped the fantasies in her novels.
An artist by nature, she considers writing as “painting with words.”