Oct 2, 2012

The Color of Tea



The Color of Tea: A Novel by Hannah Tunnicliffe
 
Book Description:
Macau: the bulbous nose of China, a peninsula and two islands strung together like a three-bead necklace. It was time to find a life for myself. To make something out of nothing. The end of hope and the beginning of it too. After moving with her husband to the tiny, bustling island of Macau, Grace Miller finds herself a stranger in a foreign land—a lone redhead towering above the crowd on the busy Chinese streets. As she is forced to confront the devastating news of her infertility, Grace’s marriage is fraying and her dreams of family have been shattered. She resolves to do something bold, something her impetuous mother would do, and she turns to what she loves: baking and the pleasure of afternoon tea.
Grace opens a café where she serves tea, coffee, and macarons—the delectable, delicate French cookies colored like precious stones—to the women of Macau. There, among fellow expatriates and locals alike, Grace carves out a new definition of home and family. But when her marriage reaches a crisis, secrets Grace thought she had buried long ago rise to the surface. Grace realizes it’s now or never to lay old ghosts to rest and to begin to trust herself. With each mug of coffee brewed, each cup of tea steeped and macaron baked, Grace comes to learn that strength can be gleaned from the unlikeliest of places.
A delicious, melt-in-your-mouth novel featuring the sweet pleasures of French pastries and the exotic scents and sights of China, The Color of Tea is a scrumptious story of love, friendship and renewal.

I purchased this book because I needed something to read at work to keep me from going insane (I work in a call center). Mostly I picked it because I liked the cover. Also, the story seemed decent and it was 40% off the cover price.

First and foremost, this is a girly book. If you don't like girly books, you wont like it. I happen to like girly books, esspecially ones that aren't all about getting a man. If that's what you're looking for, this is it.

I found the quality of the writing itself was fantastic. The descriptions of things were incredible. I'd never before thought about the way the air tastes. I had a very vivid picture of the setting the whole time I was reading thanks to the author's skilled descriptions.

I really liked the characters, especially Gigi - the young, smart mouthed chinese girl who speaks fluent english. I also understand Grace, the main character. She deals with her problems the same way I do - ignore them, and hope they go away. I never felt like any of the character were too one dimensional. They always felt like real people that you actually might meet if you opened a cafe in Macau.

...it also left me with more than a little obsession with macarons. 

The story itself, although predictable, wasn't predictable in the ways that I thought it would be. If that makes any sense at all. Like, I knew what happened at the end was going to happen. I knew it as soon as Gigi walked through the door at the cafe. And then it happened, but it wasn't quite the way I thought it would happen. And the thing with her husband? Called that too, but not exactly. It wasn't exactly cliché, but...I don't know. It was very safe. Its the kind of story that you feel good about reading, but it's not going to stick in your mind. Generally speaking, I liked the little bits of surprise in my safe story.

Ok, so lets talk about Grace's mother for a minute. So, this might be a little spoilery and might not make sense to anyone who hasn't read this book, but it really bugged me, so here it goes. From the very first time Grace mentions Mama, it's pretty obvious that her mother is dead. It quickly becomes clear that Grace feels a lot of guilt about it. Through a series of flashbacks, a picture of Mama is painted - her personality, her moods. To me, it was very apparent what was wrong with her. So, when we finally get to find out what happened to Mama, I was very confident I knew how she died. But then...that's not what happened. What did happen was very...boring. And although I get why Grace felt guilty, I think my way would have been a lot more powerful. Sometimes the obvious answer is obvious for a reason. Still, even if the author had chosen anything other than what she did for cause of death...like, terminal illness or deranged gunman would have been better choices. Anything other than what actually happened. It made me feel kind of..empty? Let down, maybe?

Last little annoyance: the protagonist is a red head. A very big deal is made about this. Not just sort of red, like my hair is sort of red. Words like fiery are thrown around. Why is the girl on the cover not a red head? It makes no sense.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful I'd give it a Pretty Great. An easy, enjoyable read.

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