Friday, June 8, 2012
The Colour of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe
Release Date:June 5, 2012
Grace Miller moves from England to Macau, China with her Australian husband Pete, who has got a new job there. Grace isn’t sure what she is going to do in Macau. She hoped to have a baby, but she and Pete are facin infertility problems. And that’s why one of the first thing she does in Macau is visiting an old lady who is a fortune teller. There she doesn’t learn more from the elderly lady called Yok Lan and her granddaughter Gigi who is translating the Cantonese in English for Grace. Grace starts exploring the city of Macau, and one day she passes an empty store . The to-rent sign on the window says it is a store with ovens. And suddenly Grace remembers the dream of her mother who she has lost contact with. Her mother’s dream was to have her own pastry shop, but due to circumstances (which the reader learns more about during the story) this dream has never come true. Could this be the new plan of Grace perhaps?
She decides to rent the store, call it Lillian’s (after her mother) and to serve tea and her own invented macaron recipes. Soon the café is very busy, get its own daily visitors (Yok Lan) and it Grace is so busy that she decides she needs to hire help. Gigi is the first who get’s a job, and soon Rilla joins the team too. Rilla is from the Phillipines, and in Macau to work and support her family back home. The café is a huge success, especially the macarons. Due to the work of Pete, who works on a construction site for one of Macau’s casino’s Grace is introduced to other expats in the area. She gets a special bond with León, who is from France and has its own restaurant in the city. They meet regularly to discuss new recipes. But then Pete, who is getting more and more absent from Grace’s life lately, has the feeling she starts to feel more for León,Could this be the end of Grace’ marriage? Luckily she has the support of a great team who become her best friends, each facing their own problems, and all trying to help each other. Even in a very special way in the end..
I was immediately attracted to this book with the gorgeous cover! Tea and macarons, who can resist that? The story itself is even more delicious. Every chapter is named after a macaron, which fits in the things that happen in that chapter. Even as the macarons, the characters in The Colour of Tea are very colorful; Grace is the main character who connects everyone. I loved how she developed during the story and set up such an awesome café! I still am not sure what to think of Pete, the absent husband maybe? He has a big part in the whole story, but mostly about his absence in Grace’s life.
The team of Lillian’s is just a dream team! Gigi is a bit eccentric, but that is because she has a sad personal life. She tries to make it more fun by working at Lillian’s and more problems come up for her when she turns out to be pregnant. Rilla was another fun character, during the book you learn more about her; she has come to Macau from the Philippines like many other young woman, who also move to Hong Kong to work as domestic helpers for wealthy families. During the book a friend of her who is staying at the same boarding house and works as a domestic helper, gets in trouble. She is abused by her employers, runs away and goes into hiding. Rilla turns out as a huge helper for other domestic helpers as well. And then there are a few expat wives who turn up regularly at Lillians. One of them is Marjory, a wealthy expat wife who turns out to be a huge support for Grace and to help Rilla. Overall The Colour of Tea is a fabulous chick-lit like novel ; an excellent plot with an Chinese twist, and a great and impressing ending that leaves much to your imagination. Oh well, I won’t post to many spoilers here, just makes sure you read this book, with a few macarons and a cup of tea ofcourse!