[BookTrib] A Delicious Debut on Family, Food and Finding Your Way

Thank you so much to Rebecca at BookTrib for reviewing “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune” as one of their buzzworthy books!

In this journey of discovery and transformation, the author Roselle balances the bitterness of losing a loved one with the sweet development of new relationships, and the quirky elements of magical realism in Natalie’s cooking. As classically illustrated in Like Water for Chocolate, there’s just something about the combination of cooking and magical realism that mixes beautifully in a story. Natalie’s food has the power to instill particular feelings in those that try it. For example, Natalie’s Arroz Caldo serves as comfort food, but more than simply satisfying Celia’s hunger, it conjures cherished memories. Natalie’s dish reminds her of “snuggling under afghans with my mother,” ushering nostalgia and pure happiness in just a spoonful of porridge. In addition to playing with the fun conventions of magical realism in food, a delectable new romance unfurls in the background of the story as Natalie opens her mind and heart up to her community.

Roselle Kaes
[frolic] Roselle Lim on Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune, Family Superstitions, Carly Rae Jepsen and More!

Frolic has posted a wonderful interview about my debut, “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune”, and my journey as a writer!

Roselle Lim’s debut novel, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune released on June 11th. It is a beautifully written tale of “food, heritage and finding family in the most unexpected places.” Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, we follow our heroine, Natalie, as she processes the guilt she feels over the loss of her estranged mother while struggling to reopen the long-abandoned family restaurant. That means this tale is ripe with food-centric metaphors, a personal fave of mine! Lim does a lovely job setting the scenes with her lyrical writing style. You can smell the smells and practically feel the heaviness of the air with her descriptions. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune deals with a lot of family superstitions and beliefs passed down from generation to generation – this gives us a light and airy feel that some might consider magical. I would not classify this as magical realism, but the realizations of these superstitions definitely give it an almost otherworldly feel. This Women’s Fiction novel with romantic threads throughout was uniquely enjoyable for a southern, superstitious foodie like me!

Lim’s debut is a page-turner, and I am excited to watch her writing journey progress.

Roselle Kaes
[BookPage] Review of "Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune"

BookPage has given a wonderful review of “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune”

Summer beckons a reading list that is as light, fun and feel-good as the season itself. Roselle Lim’s Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune definitely fits that need. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lim’s debut is the story of 20-something Natalie, who has just returned home to the worst news possible: the unexpected passing of her mother, Miranda. Her shock and sadness are compounded by the guilt of parting ways seven years ago over a disagreement that now seems extraneous.

Natalie had wanted to become a chef, a profession that Miranda profoundly opposed even though her own mother had once owned the most famous restaurant in all of Chinatown. But Natalie found it hard to comply with her mother’s wishes; she was young and full of dreams. So for Natalie, there was no other choice but to leave her mother and Chinatown. Seven years later, here she stands in her childhood apartment, without a mother and without the culinary degree that was more elusive than she had assumed. Sharing Natalie’s bad luck is the neighborhood itself, with its failing businesses and gentrification.

But this is a story of luck and fortune, so it isn’t long before Natalie is given a chance to fix it all. She inherits her grandmother’s restaurant, a space boarded up under the very apartment where she grew up, along with a surprising heirloom from her mother: her grandmother’s cookbook, which reads more like a book of spells than recipes. Together they reveal the secrets of the past and the possibility of what the future might hold. Will this be enough to breathe life back into Natalie’s heart and her neighborhood?

Lim’s magical storytelling, excellent cast of supporting characters and mouth-watering recipes make this book a must for your summer reading list.

Roselle Kaes
[Vogue Hong Kong] The Best Books to Take on Holiday This Summer

Vogue Hong Kong selected “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune” as one of their best books to take on holiday this summer:

Perfect for foodies looking for a delectable read to get their teeth into, this novel follows chef Natalie Tan back to her home of San Francisco’s Chinatown upon news of her estranged mother’s death. There, she discovers that the neighbourhood is a far cry from its vibrant heyday, as well as the fact that she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant. But before she can reopen it, she is told by the local mystic that she must first cook three recipes for the neighbours who cared for her mother in her absence. Sprinkled with real recipes and hints of magic realism throughout, this tale of homecoming makes for a light bite to satiate yourself with.

Roselle Kaes
[The News Wheel] 4 Anticipated Audiobooks of June 2019

The News Wheel listed “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune” as one of their four anticipated audiobooks of June 2019:

Roselle Lim’s debut novel, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, is not a book you should read hungry. The titular character heads home to San Francisco after the death of Natalie’s estranged mother. It turns out that she has inherited a restaurant that used to belong to her grandmother. The story follows Natalie through delicious recipes, romance, and a new understanding of the family that raised her. Running exactly 10.5 hours, this book promises to be both a fun ride and an insightful look into family dynamics.

Roselle Kaes
[BookPage] Summer reading 2019: Your sweetest escape

BookPage included “Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune” in their Summer reading 2019: Your sweetest escape:

Summer beckons a reading list that is as light, fun and feel-good as the season itself. Roselle Lim’s Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune definitely fits that need. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lim’s debut is the story of 20-something Natalie, who has just returned home to the worst news possible: the unexpected passing of her mother, Miranda. Her shock and sadness are compounded by the guilt of parting ways seven years ago over a disagreement which now seems extraneous. But this is a story of luck and fortune, so it isn’t long before Natalie is given a chance to fix it all. —Chika Gujarathi

Roselle Kaes