Scribner|June 5, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4516-8699-9
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 city 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 open a café where she serves tea, coffee, and macaroons, the delectable, delicate French cookies colored liked 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 macaroon 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 COLOUR OF TEA is a scrumptious story of love, friendship and renewal.
Grace and Pete Miller have moved to Macau for Pete’s job and they are dealing with some devastating news that affects their relationship deeply and they avoid talking about the issue pushing a wider wedge into their marriage.
Grace is also dealing with leaving her mother, Lillian, and hasn’t seen or communicated with her in quite some time except for the letters she writes to her about remembrances of time together, but she never sends them.
Growing bored and needing something to do instead of sleeping around the clock, tossing down sleeping pill after sleeping pill to mask her emotions, she decides to open a café. She calls it “Lillian’s” and her biggest seller is the beautiful and tasty macaroons she bakes. Her greatest passion is serving afternoon tea and baking the macaroons that look like semi-precious stones. Soon she carves out a place where she feels completely safe and comfortable among the expatriates and locals she befriends. Things are finally running along smoothly for Grace until Pete confides something that completely turns her world upside-down.
Eventually Grace realizes that she simply cannot continue in the mindset she is in and learns that strength, independence, love, and families can come from the unlikeliest of places.
One of the things I loved about this novel, aside from the beautifully written story, was the use of very decadent French names for her “macroons” as chapter headings. How utterly clever and delicious! An added love to this story was the fact that Hannah Tunnicliffe’s talent for writing had me totally lost and mesmerized in Lillian’s Café. I really felt that I was sitting inside the café and could see, hear, and feel everything going on around me. I was a single observer seated at a table watching and listening – it was an incredible experience!
For a debut novel this was bang on and Hannah Tunnicliffe is an author to watch!