Review: Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

I had high hopes for Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune when I started it. The only let down while reading this book was that I couldn’t taste the recipes as Natalie cooked them.

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune CoverAt 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. (Goodreads) Goodreads

I received an eARC of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune needs trigger warnings for parental death (literally opening the book), disparagement of mental illness and agoraphobia that is challenged on the page, and grieving.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune is a stunning book. It’s full of lush food descriptions and a beautiful depiction of complicated grief and family expectations. I loved the way we got to truly become a part of Natalie’s community while she rebuilt her role there and her family’s restaurant, from Old Wu to Celia to Meimei.

It also included frank discussions of mental health issues within communities that have historically struggled to deal with them, and it did it beautifully.

The prose is absolutely purple in the best way. The recipes got a little overwhelming at times and could maybe have been cut down a little or included as full recipes in an appendix in the back, but I loved reading Qiao’s notes throughout the story. It gave me the feeling I get when I read my own grandmother’s recipes.

I loved it, and I think you will, too. You can pick up a copy from Amazon, Indiebound, The Ripped Bodice and The Book Depository through our affiliate links.


Title: Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Author: Roselle Lim

Publisher: Berkley Books

Length: 320 Pages

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Rating: Highly Recommended

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Representation: Chinese-American main character, Chinese side characters, agoraphobic secondary character


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