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Roselle Lim Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Roselle Lim is a bestselling American Filipino author of young adult novels. Lim was born in the Philippines but her parents moved to Canada where she spent her childhood in a diverse Asian neighborhood in northern Scarborough. She credits her paternal grandmother Lola for cultivating her interest in storytelling as she would tell her a lot of Filipino tales when she was a child. Her parents happened to be Chinese and Filipino and hence she was brought up in a household where Filipino Catholicism mingled with Chinese superstition. She thus read a lot of mythology books and these clearly shaped her interest in fantasy that she would later write about in her novels. As a child, she was surprisingly good with reading, especially given that she learned English from watching wrestling. She particularly found “The Witches by Roald Dahl” to be wicked and hilarious and says it taught her the very valuable lesson of not taking everything at face value. Her first writing in English was a remake of a cartoon on TV after her grandmother introduced her to graphic and comic novels modeled on Filipino telenovelas. Lim published her first novel “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune” in 2019. This was her proudest moment given that she had published in English which is not her native tongue. When she is not writing she loves to work on her projects that include woodburning, stickering and sewing.

When Roselle Lim set out to write her novels, she knew that magical realism had to be in it. She was brought up on Chinese mythology and asserted that she sees magic everywhere she goes. Her novels are full of magical elements; a couple that mends their relationship with gold, a moment of anger that results in the character smashing a stool, and recipes that result in literal fireworks. In addition to the magical realist elements, the novels also come with recipes and music that enrich the story even further. Lim purposefully makes use of music to show where her characters are in time and place. For instance, classical and opera music is perfect for Miranda who is agoraphobic. She also draws a lot of her recipes and foods from her personal experience. Just like the music, it is purposefully chosen to reflect the circumstance and settings in the story. For instance, since the first novel is set in San Francisco, Natalie the lead makes Dungeness crabs that could be found almost anywhere on the West coast rather than blue crabs.

In Natalie “Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune” the lead Natalie just had a huge and bitter quarrel with her mother. Her mother does not want her daughter to pursue her dream of becoming a chef and hence Natalie leaves home angry and determined to do what she wants. She spends seven years traveling the world and not talking to her mother until she is informed that her mother is dead and she has to come back for the funeral. She still dreams of becoming a chef and opening a Chinese restaurant just like Qiao her grandmother. Now she can pursue her dream as she intends to dust up and clean the abandoned restaurant on the ground floor of the home that had been left to her. But the only problem is that there is a steep rise in property prices in the area which has been causing Chinese families to leave which has the knock-on effect of destroying family-owned businesses. A psychic neighbor comes to see Natalie and hands her a recipe she claims was from her old grandmother Qiao. She asserts that her restaurant will be successful and revitalize the neighborhood if she cooks recipes from the cookbook and just like her grandma help people in need. Natalie is initially reluctant and dubious but she soon gets into the groove and making magical dishes and soon her restaurant is the talk of Chinatown. As soon as she sets up and starts cooking, a lot of good things apart from the food start happening. She has a chance not only of revitalizing the neighborhood but also of finding love when a young man comes into her restaurant and into her life.

Lim’s Vanessa “Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop” is the story of Vanessa Yu, a woman that had never wanted to become a psychic. However for as long as she can remember she could gaze into people’s teacups and see their fortunes. Since she did not want to keep blurting out fortunes, she decides to be drinking only coffee though the fortunes still manage to complicate her life and those of her friends. To add to her woes, her parents have hired a matchmaking expert from Shanghai as they think she will never be able to get a man on her own. On the eve of her appointment with the matchmaker, she accidentally looks down at tea leaves and learns that fate has appointed her to die in a traffic accident. She makes the decision that life would not be worth living if her uncanny abilities continued to get in her way. When Evelyn her eccentric aunt comes into town with a juicy offer to take her to Paris and leave behind America she says yes. While in Paris, she decides to help her by reconnecting her with a lost love. Meanwhile, she is coming to the realization that knowing her destiny is not all that bad unless she cannot change it.

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