Whenever I have the opportunity to read books from Asian authors, I jump at the chance. This time, it happened to be a small town romance that hit a lot closer to home than anticipated for this long-time big city girl.
The House on Mulberry Street is the third and final installment of Jeannie Chin’s Blue Cedar Falls series. The first two novels followed the two elder Wu sisters, June and May, and this third one follows youngest sister Elizabeth. As Elizabeth tries to start an independent art festival in their small town of Blue Cedar Falls, she has to navigate all her feelings surrounding her long-time best friend and roommate Graham and his decision to move out of their shared space.
Though Elizabeth is the youngest sibling in her family and I am the eldest in mine, I found myself relating to her more than to her sisters in their respective novels. Elizabeth as a character is like the living embodiment of all the self-consciousness and self-doubt that we live with in our every day lives, whether we have been beaten down or not. She is a great example of how to be a free spirit and march to the beat of your own drum while still finding a place for yourself in the more traditional expectations of other people.
The relationships in this book serve as a great lesson as well. Graham and Elizabeth’s relationship reminds us that just because we are different from someone (maybe even their polar opposite) doesn’t mean that we aren’t able to find common ground. June and Elizabeth’s relationship reminds us that sometimes the negative self-talk that we have is really all inside our own minds. And the relationship between Elizabeth and her mother reminds us that, even if we think we’ve destroyed something, sometimes love really does help you rise above it all.
Jeannie has a way of writing that cuts deep into your heart and makes you think about how you experience life with the people around you. Sometimes in romance novels, the characters feel like they can be larger than life, like they couldn’t actually be real people, but the characters that Jeannie has created feel like someone you could meet in your own life. There is something therapeutic and heartwarming about each book in this series, but especially in The House on Mulberry Street as you watch Elizabeth realize that maybe she isn’t as much of a screw up as she thought she was.
The House on Mulberry Street is on shelves now and you can get your own copy here. Don’t forget to also pick up The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane and Return to Cherry Blossom Way so you can follow along with all three Wu sisters as they not just find love, but find out what home really means.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book (as well as finished copies of the whole series) from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate links above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!