Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Book Love: Sweet Mandarin by Helen Tse

Guess what awaited me when I got home today? Sweet Mandarin by Helen Tse! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Wendy!

I was so excited and still am, let me tell you... I participated in Wendy's book giveaway in September and when she announced that I'd won, I was thrilled beyond words. Sweet Mandarin is a story that spans almost a hundred years and recounts the lives of three generations of remarkable Chinese women--more of the story at the end of the post. Do check out Wendy's review of the book too. Here are some pics:

Look at the cute kitty address sticker! I cut it out from the padded envelope for safekeeping.

Inside the envelope is the book and a card. What a cute BookCrossing sticker! It was as if the yellow book is running towards me saying, "Here I come, Alice!" LOL And what do we have here... Lazy Lions Lounging in the Local Library notecard!
And finally, Sweet Mandarin and me. I immediately wrapped the covers with protective plastic book wrapper.
Once again, thank you, Wendy! Thank you...

About the book (from the book cover): Their extraordinary journey takes us from the brutal poverty of village life in mainland China, to newly prosperous 1930s Hong Kong, and finally to the UK. Their lives were as dramatic as the times they lived through.

A love of food and a talent for cooking pulled each generation through the most devastating of upheavals. Helen Tse's grandmother, Lily Kwok, was forced to work as an amah after the violent murder of her father. Crossing the ocean from Hong Kong in the 1950s, Lily honed her famous curry chicken recipe. Eventually she opened one of Manchester's earliest Chinese restaurants where her daughter, Mabel, worked from the tender age of nine. But gambling and the Triads were pervasive in the Chinese immigrant community, and tragically they lost the restaurant. It was up to author Helen and her sisters, the third generation of these exceptional women, to reestablish their grandmother's dream. The legacy lived on when the sisters opened their award-winning restaurant Sweet Mandarin in 2004.