Vanessa Yu never wanted to be a fortune teller. Which explains a lot about why she can barely control her magical ability as an adult. After years of avoiding learning more about her gift and refusing to embrace it, Vanessa is plagued by headaches in the wake of every vision and unable to avoid blurting out the fortunes she sees in any beverage that catches her eye at the most inconvenient times.
When her latest prediction of infidelity comes at her cousin’s luxe wedding, even Vanessa has to admit something needs to change.
Faster than you can say adieu, Vanessa is leaving California to to help her aunt Evelyn open a new tea shop in Paris and, hopefully, to also get a handle on her gift once and for all. Paris is filled with delicious foods, beautiful art, and possibly even romance with Mark, a handsome pastry chef.
Everyone knows that Seers are incapable of forming lasting romantic attachments. So before Vanessa can see if she and Mark have a future, she has a lot more to learn about her magical abilities in Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop (2020) by Roselle Lim.
Lim’s sophomore novel is set in the same world as her debut Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune (read my review) which also features Evelyn Yu as an important secondary character.
Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop expands the world Lim created in her debut, introducing readers to more magical elements and moving the story into a new setting. Strong world building is once again grounded in intricate descriptions of the fashions, decor, and delectable foods that Vanessa encounters during her stay in Paris alongside magical elements including Vanessa and Evelyn’s predictions as Seers–some of which are better integrated into the otherwise contemporary setting than others.
Vanessa’s efforts to understand and control her magic works well with the side plot of helping Evelyn open her shop and work against xenophobic bigotry that threatens to shutter the tea shop before it ever has a chance. As Vanessa learns more about herself, her magic, and the red strings of fate that tie people together, she also starts to realize that there is more than one kind of magic in the world–and she just might be able to take a different path.
With attempts to matchmake for her aunt and a new Parisian friend, there’s plenty of love to be found in this novel even if Vanessa’s own love interest often feels lackluster in comparison.
Romantic and filled with love, Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop is ultimately a story about choosing yourself–and your own fate–no matter the cost.
Possible Pairings: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, The Heartbreak Bakery by A. R. Capetta, Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien, Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn, A Thread of Sky by Diana Fei, Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron, Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li, A Taste of Sage by Yaffa S. Santos, Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis, The Recipe Box by Vivian Shipman, Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto