Popsugar Reading Challenge 2020 – Book 19

Prompt: A book set in Japan, host of the 2020 Olympics

Well, the 2020 Olympics may have been postponed, but the Popsugar Challenge continues. i had absolutely no idea nowhat I was going to read for this category and nothing I already had fit the bill. Then I saw The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin available on Netgalley and it was perfect. And the cover is so pretty!

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

Grab your passport and escape to the land of dazzling skycrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams of the Far East are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, neon-drenched Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but it’s not long before the Japanese art of contentment and a special, traditional tea ceremony work their magic…

Amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently.

What I think:

This book feels like a love letter to Japan.

Fiona has always wanted to go to Japan and this is her first trip. She has won a photography competition and has a week in Japan with professional mentoring and an exhibition of her photographs when she returns.

We see Japan and it’s culture through her eyes. There’s lots of detailed description of key settings and this is a very atmospheric novel. Fiona explores both the traditional and ultra-modern sides of Japan including tea ceremonies and cherry blossom. Fiona stays with a multi-generational family who run a traditional tea shop so has the opportunity to see Japanese culture up close.

Professional photographer, Gabe is the love interest int the book. He is someone that Fiona had connected with when she was younger. He’s moody, rude and unlikeable to start with. He ditches Fiona at every opportunity and behaves in a really unprofessional way. He views mentoring Fiona as a chore. He’s successful but jaded and feeling uninspired. His former muse is married and he is a bit lost both personally and professionally. As he spends more time with Fiona he starts to see Japan and photography through fresh eyes.

The most interesting character is Haruka who owns the teashop and acts as wise fairy godmother type character. She sees the good in Gabe and helps Fiona’s journey of self-discovery.

This isn’t the most original love story. Fiona is lacking in confidence, Gabe is arrogant but of course opposites attract. Overall it’s an easy read with lots of atmospheric description.

Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy of the book in return for an honest review.

You can pre-order The Little Teashop in Tokyo from:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here

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