Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery!
I have fallen in love with the cover with its sweet treats and cherry blossoms and I’m glad I got the opportunity to read the book.
Genre: YA/NA/Adult clean romance
Publication date: August 20, 2020
This book turned out to be completely different from what I’d expected, not in terms of the plot but in terms of the writing style and the otherworldly vibes of the story. The simplistic style reminded me of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The author uses interesting, unique similes that I’ve never heard before.
“It was a perfect afternoon, like a clean white ironed tablecloth.”
Every action, every step, and every emotion is described in excruciating detail. The pacing is slow, zen-like and forces you to pause and think about what you’re reading. To me, it was like an exercise in mindfulness.
Little nuggets of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book, interspersed with mouth-watering descriptions of food and cooking.
Fruits, especially different varieties of apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, Snow White) and vegetables are described often with respect to their appearance, taste, texture, and quality. In fact, this book is a celebration of wholesome, healthy food and the impact it has on one’s physical and mental well-being.
“She’d heard that eating well-made, tasty food stimulated the body’s endorphins, just like being in love.”
Tea-drinking is central to the story, as can be expected from a book set in Japan, and various kinds of tea — Hoji tea, chamomile tea, corn silk tea, Rooibos, Earl Gray , Lady Grey — are described.
The story is overwhelmingly sad, with slivers of hope and joy. Loss of some kind is a pervasive theme, be it due to death, separation, or abandonment.
The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery is not your regular food book, even though food plays a dominant part in it. It is a story about heartbreak and self-discovery and following one’s heart.
If you’re looking for something different from the usual romance novels with a huge serving of cake and tea and set in mystical Japan, then this book is for you.
(I received a review copy from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review.)
Some lovely quotes:
“Possessing nothing can be a blessing.”
“[About death]…It was going to happen to everyone. There was no control over it. It could happen earlier or later. There was no point getting confused, sad, upset, miserable, or desperate about it. Instead she wanted to be ready for her when it came, to accept it calmly with an open mind.”
“She rubbed her face hard like she might uncover some secret beneath the skin.”
“She blinked and slowly climbed up from her tedious long well of dreams.”
“It’s difficult and it takes time to earn trust, but it’s easy to lose it all.”
“No matter what happens, live the life that you wish. Everyone deserves a happy life.”
“Did Jin disappear to go and cry alone, or did he cry so much he disappeared without realizing it?”
“She realized life was like a winding trail you had to walk alone. There was no way to know if there was a big puddle, a huge rock or a group of cows blocking the road ahead before you started walking.”
“Life was not lived alone, Hana had learned. It was an important lesson. With good companions any challenges could be overcome.”
Fluttering cherry blossoms, gorgeous kimonos and sweet and sorrowful love.
For cake-loving college girl Hana, Japan was the romantic destination of her dreams. With boyfriend Jin she planned an exciting new life in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. But when she finally arrives after months of planning, Jin isn’t there.
Hana is left broken-hearted on a rainy Tokyo street. Jin left no note. One day he just walked out of classes and disappeared.
Hana begins her new life alone. Watching cherry blossoms fall into the Tokyo river. Working hard and delivering her lovely home-baked cakes by orange bicycle. Then she meets handsome young farmer Hikaru, and glimpses a new way forward – in an alien place where she doesn’t know a soul.
The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery is a sweet romance with a hint of magic realism. It’s a perfect book to carry with you and read on holiday or weekends.
Amazon US – here
Amazon UK – here
About Su Young Lee
Su Young Lee is a Korean romance author who lived in Tokyo, Japan for 10 years and now lives in London, England with her husband and two lovely cats.
Su works in academic publishing and loves baking, playing piano and working on her calligraphy.
Check her blog here.
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Do you like books set in Japan? Have you enjoyed any such books recently? I would be very happy if you let me know in the comments.