Review: The Color of Tea
Grace feels isolated living in Macau, China with her husband. She doesn’t speak the language and her husband is busy with work and she’s learning to accept that they will never be able to have children. When she notices a vacant restaurant for rent Grace decides to open a coffee shop and bake the beloved macarons her mother introduced her to as a child. She names the coffee shop Lillian’s, after her mother, and finds a family in the women who gather there – both employees and customers.
The Color of Tea, by Hannah Tunnicliffe is a story of love and survival. It’s about forgiveness, hope, and strength. Add the descriptions of tea and macarons and you have a winning combination . . . for the most part.
Grace is a fabulous character. I could feel her isolation, since I’ve known it in my own life. It’s not easy to make a life for yourself in a new place when you don’t speak the language. Add the grief of her infertility and her unstable childhood and it’s easy to see why Grace felt sad. She was determined though, saying,
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.
I’m generally not drawn to character-driven novels, but the characters in this one were so wonderful and realistic and the backdrop of Lillian’s (and the macarons) added such a great dimension, I found myself eager to get back to the book to see what Grace and her friends were up to. I came to care for these characters and was anxious to get back to them when I had to set the book down. I cheered at their triumphs and cringed at their mistakes.
The Color of Tea was close to being a stellar read for me and probably would have been if it weren’t for the ending. I felt like the ending came out of left field and it hit me like a punch in the gut. After mulling it around in my brain for a few days, I still don’t think it fits the rest of the book. If you’ve read the book I’d love to know what you thought of the end.
Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the book a great deal – I just wish it had ended differently.