Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Colour of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe

 4 Star

Lost among the gaudy, busy streets of  Macau, Grace's life is slowly unraveling. Her marriage to Pete, her Australian husband, is fraying and her dreams of having a family seem hopeless. With the heralding of a new year she resolves to do something bold. Something her impetuous Mama might do. In this pocket of China, filled with casinos and yum cha restaurants, she opens her own small café called Lillian's. This sanctuary of macarons and tea becomes a place where the women of Macau come together, bridging cultural divides, to share in each other's triumphs and pain. But Grace's immersion in the cafe is taking its toll on her marriage, and when things start to crumble in the cafe, Lillian's suddenly feels like a burden rather than an escape. The recipe for disaster is complete when Pete does the unthinkable.

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Kathryn - 4 Star

I will start by saying that I’m not sure I was completely in love with Grace at the beginning of The Colour of Tea. I think, though, that the author needed to give her some hard to love moments to create the depth of relationship between her and her husband – and having been faced with some of the same hurdles as Grace I could also feel compassion for her personally. Tunnicliffe was creative in having Grace’s emotions come through in a realistic manner and she did so without making the novel feel heavy.

The story moves through Grace’s trouble with conception to give her a very strong personal goal and I loved Grace’s determination and focus in tackling the dream to own her own cafe.  It’s almost as if she didn’t even pause to think about the implications of what she was trying to take on and just ploughed through the work to get to something she could be proud of.  It was so important that Grace find her own passion- independent of her husband- it helped bring her character to life.

For me the most special moments were Grace’s café and the women she hired to work there. They were beautifully unique and each brought much to Grace’s life and the story. I was drawn to them and craved more information about all of their lives once the novel was finished.  My favourite was Gigi and her special relationship with her grandmother- their support of each other was enchanting. 

My feelings towards Grace’s husband were indifferent- I’m not sure if Tunnicliffe meant for us to see him as an afterthought. He didn’t have much character and certainly wasn’t all that helpful for most of the novel. However, I did understand how his grief was affecting his marriage and I presume that his being in the background was intentional.

There are a few obvious twists to the plot but I would never say they brought down the progress of the action. The Color of Tea was a beautiful novel, the setting was unique and the plot imaginative.

Thank you to Macmillan for our review copy!

Connect with Hannah Tunnicliffe here:

1 comment:

  1. I really want to read this. I love the cover, and I'm always up for reads set in exotic locales. Thanks for the review!



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