Title: The Color of Tea
Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cultural Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Grace Miller doesn’t know how to spend her time now that she’s moved with her husband to Macau. He’s busy with his job, and Grace feels alone in this completely foreign land. She decides to take a huge step and open a café and bakery, but she doesn’t realize how much it will change her life and the lives of the women around her.
I’m a bit of a sucker for fish-out-of-water stories, so The Color of Tea appealed to me immediately. I don’t know much about Macau, so I was eager to learn about the history and culture of this Chinese island. Additionally, I was curious to see what issues Grace had to face as an expat. Happily, I felt satisfied on all these fronts as Tunnicliffe immersed me into her story with vivid descriptions and intricate details.
Grace is an appealing main character that readers will enjoy getting to know in The Color of Tea. From the beginning, it’s clear that her marriage is a bit rocky, and that she’s searching for some sense of self in this brand new place. She’s not the easiest character when the book begins, but it’s admirable how she pulls herself up and takes control of her life, intent on finding a purpose. As she pours herself into her café, she does more than figure out who she is and what she wants. She impacts her community and makes a difference in the lives of many women in Macau, women who might otherwise have no hope. It’s beautiful to read about, and it’s just an added bonus that Tunnicliffe makes the novel so engaging and fun.
Tunnicliffe also includes many minor characters in The Color of Tea, and the reader feels as if they come to know each person intimately. The struggles these women face are varied, but they present a great snapshot of the issues present in the country. It’s difficult to believe that The Color of Tea is Tunnicliffe’s first novel because she develops her characters so expertly.
If you’re looking for an engaging read, with all the colors and spices of a foreign culture and setting, The Color of Tea is a great choice. Readers might find the ending a bit too tidy, but overall, it’s a fun, well-written novel. If you’re looking for your next book club read, the easy read combined with the important issues presented in this book make it a great choice. I look forward to seeing what Hannah Tunnicliffe does next, as I’ll be watching her writing career with great interest.