Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune

Book - 2019 | First edition
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Penguin Putnam
Lush and visual, chock-full of delicious recipes, Roselle Lim&;s magical debut novel is about food, heritage, and finding family in the most unexpected places.  

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.

Baker & Taylor
Inheriting her grandmother's restaurant in a crumbling San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood, Natalie Tan is advised by the local seer to prepare three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to help their struggling community. Original. A first novel.

& Taylor

Inheriting her grandmother's restaurant in a crumbling San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood, Natalie receives some advice from the local seer that will help her struggling community, but she isn't sure she wants to help them try to turn things around.

Publisher: New York : Berkley, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781984803252
Branch Call Number: FIC Lim
Characteristics: ix, 299 pages ; 21 cm


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Nov 02, 2020

I was not moved by the magic in this book. Nor by an ostensibly well-traveled central character who is surprised that a woman 5 years younger than her mother could have been mom's friend. WTH? Rather superficial but an easy read. Just have to wonder how much of Natalie's angst is genuine reflection of culture and how much was simply her feeling like she was far more powerful than she was. And I have to laugh- her "recipe"cost a dear friend $5,000 but all was forgiven when she cooked for her again? Nope. I don't buy it.

Like Water for Chocolate is a much better foodie read.

Jan 09, 2020

This book was absolutely wonderful. The descriptions of the food made me hungry every time, and there was a little bit of magical realism to it that reminded me of a wuxia movie (Hero; House of Flying Daggers; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; etc.). Originally I had put this on hold for my mom but decided to read it while I could and fell in love with it. It has that tiny bit of romance in it that is really the cherry on top and I can't say much more; if you like reading about food, romance, and healing after a hard time in your life, this book is definitely for you.

Nov 12, 2019

300 pages of the main character whining about everything in the world around her is her fault. Don't waste your time with this one.

Aug 05, 2019

A feel good soap opera script. Goes in circles a bit but you get there eventually. On a rainy day, get your cup of tea, a nice cookie and this book, bliss...

RandomLibrarian Jul 24, 2019

Review excerpt: "'Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune' is what I’d describe as women’s fiction with magical realism. It also has pages upon pages of yummy food descriptions. While the writing is evocative and every foodie’s dream, the weak romantic subplot, haphazard emotional resolution, and frequent repetition of phrases diminished a majority of the shine of the atmosphere and writing."

Jul 08, 2019

I enjoyed this book a great deal delicious recipes and a well told story of love and a community.

JessicaGma Jul 04, 2019

There are lovely descriptions here and a large dash of magical realism. It was a fun story and you could just imagine the Chinatown as described in the tale. The recipes lack specifics so FYI.

DCLadults Jun 25, 2019

A New and Noteworthy pick. A luscious debut that will leave you hungry for more. A young Chinese woman returns to San Francisco after her mother dies and is able to use her gift with food to bring people together. A little magical realism and a lot of recipes!

Jun 20, 2019

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy magical realism and books that are beautifully described.

When Natalie's estranged mother passes away, she goes home to get her affairs in order. She quickly finds that her neighborhood in San Fransico's Chinatown has lost some of it's luster. The businesses are failing, the buildings are worn, and realtors are scooping up the property to gentrify her neighborhood. When the local mystic tells Natalie that she must fix three problems for her neighbors by cooking from her grandmother's cookbook, and then save the neighborhood Natalie delves into her family history and passion for cooking. As Natalie cooks she heals her neighbors, and sees the neighborhood come back to life, but without her grandmother or mother there to guide her, things quickly go awry. Can she save her neighborhood and open her own restaurant following her grandmother's footsteps?

This is exactly the type of writing and book that I like to read. Dreamy descriptions, magical realism, and beautiful symbolism are all woven into the story. This book had the bonus of being related to a specific culture and being written by an author of color. I absolutely adored everything related to Natalie's journey home, discovering bits about her family, neighborhood, mother, grandmother, and father was so much fun. I adored the cooking prescription concept and the whole book made my mouth water. I loved the cat. I loved the little magical elements in the cooking, music, birds, etc. I thought that Daniel was the sweetest and that the beginning of their relationship made sense to me because of the magical realism. The way their first date went though was a little puzzling to me, and it could be a cultural thing, but talking about how many kids you want and how cute a tiny version of your date would be seems a little bit familiar to me. Either way this book was enchanting start to finish. I loved how Natalie found a connection to her family, her heritage, and her neighborhood through this book. The journal entries, and recipe entries add so much depth to the story. I can't say enough about how dazzling the magic was. I just adored this and will definitely read more by this author in the future!

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