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The Last Tea Bowl Thief

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For three hundred years, a stolen relic passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, indelibly altering the lives of those who possess it.

In modern-day Tokyo, Robin Swann’s life has sputtered to a stop. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not pottery. Her stalled dissertation sits on her laptop, unopened in months, and she has no one to confide in but her goldfish.

On the other side of town, Nori Okuda sells rice bowls and tea cups to Tokyo restaurants, as her family has done for generations. But with her grandmother in the hospital, the family business is foundering. Nori knows if her luck doesn’t change soon, she’ll lose what little she has left.

With nothing in common, Nori and Robin suddenly find their futures inextricably linked to an ancient, elusive tea bowl. Glimpses of the past set the stage as they hunt for the lost masterpiece, uncovering long-buried secrets in their wake. As they get closer to the truth—and the tea bowl—the women must choose between seizing their dreams or righting the terrible wrong that has poisoned its legacy for centuries.

  • Publisher: Seventh Street Books (October 20, 2020)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781645060291

A wonderful blend of history and mystery. The intrigues of Japan’s past and present combine to vivid, haunting effect.

– Laura Joh Rowland, author of "The Iris Fan"

I don’t know when I’ve been more caught up in a story. Jonelle Patrick handles the fascinating, centuries-old tale of the tea bowl with elegance and verve. Her descriptions are flawless and reveal her deep understanding of Japanese culture. A masterful achievement.

– Terry Shames, award-winning author of "An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock"

An immersive page-turner, meticulously researched and perfectly plotted. Patrick has crafted a subtle, layered mystery filled with intriguing characters and masterful twists. Without question, the best book I have read all year.

– Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and "CLIMB"

Patrick’s keen eye for the telling detail reveals her great love for and knowledge of Japan. A great read!

– Liza Dalby, author of Geisha and "The Tale of Murasaki"

The Last Tea Bowl Thief is Jonelle Patrick at her finest. Hauntingly beautiful, an instant immersion into feudal, wartime and modern Japan. Returning to reality is nothing short of heartbreak.

– Melissa MacGregor, author of "The Curious Steambox Affair"

A suspenseful plot that keeps you guessing while at the same time whisking you away to another time and place with enviable ease…a pleasure to read.

– Mary Mackey, New York Times bestselling author of "The Year The Horses Came"

Full of drama, vivid characters, wit, gorgeous writing and fascinating cultural, religious and social detail…The brilliance of this novel sneaks up on you as the pieces of its puzzle come together.

– Mac Salman, 'Tokyo Authority' editor and founder of Maction Planet

The Last Tea Bowl Thief... is an engaging read of choices—and second chances—that cross the centuries.

– Mandy Bartok, Japan travel specialist, blogging at 'Uncovering Japan'