This is not a traditional book review. I’m not going to sit here and talk about the plot, etc.

I’m talking about The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano because for me this is an important book and it is a great book as well.

Why is this book important to me?

Well, the heroine in this book is Ana. Analyn Sanchez and she’s Filipina. I am Australian, and I’m half-Filipina.

I’ve been a voracious reader my whole life and I never once cared if a character in a book or movie for that matter, looked like me or came from my Asian cultural side. Not once. I didn’t care what anyone looked like – all I cared about was good writing,  a plot that drew me in and characters I could love. 

I suppose there are a few reasons for my not caring and I suspect the biggest one might simply be because I know Jesus loves and cares for me, that who I am as a person is cemented in him. I know I am wanted because of Jesus Christ.

I think other reasons are related to my upbringing in a rural town in NSW. There were a handful of us half-Asian kids running around, but most of my friends – and everyone else in town, were white Aussies.

Another reason is I’ve never cared about reading multicultural characters is I don’t look Asian. Most people just look at me and get this look in their eyes. They can see I look a bit different and are wondering where I’m from, but they don’t automatically see the Asian. It doesn’t bother me when people ask where I’m from unless they phrase it in a way that it meant to hurt – but that’s a different story.

So when I saw that The Solid Grounds Coffee Company featured a Filipina heroine I was sold. I was curious and excited to read it.

It shocked me when I started crying throughout this book. For the first time in my life, I was reading about a character whom I understood – in looks, in demeanor, in cultural references, in faith and, in family dynamics. I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that would hit me. The book has stayed with me since I finished the last word.

I started this book at the right time too. As an aspiring author who has always written white characters (which is also a direct reflection of my upbringing – hello, small-town rural Australia), I am finally writing about a character who is half-Filipina. It’s scary for me.

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company has given me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and embrace the other side of my world. And yes, for me and many others out there who are mixed-race, sometimes it feels like we never fit in anywhere. Too white for one culture, and too Asian for the other.

I am so pleased I found this book because not only did it touch my heart, but I found a new author for me to read and that’s the best part!

If you like authentic characters, realistic character development, a great romance, and coffee… lots of coffee, then this book is for you.