- Publisher: Scribner
- Published: 3 April 2018
- Paperback: 400 pages
My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.
The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.
As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.
A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.
I loved Lisa’s See’s “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” as well as “The Island of Sea Women”, so I was curious about this one.
To be honest, it took me a little while to get into this book’s storyline, but after reading it in it’s entirety, I recognise that the author needed to lay the foundation of the character’s past, to move the story into what it becomes.
And once I was into the the story, I was hooked.
The research that must go into this kind of novel blows my mind. I always do some research of my own when I’m done and find it incredible to think that these remote villages still existed well into the late eighties and nineties, untouched by modern times or thinking. And seeing what happens when the modern world reaches the old ways… well, it’s shame really.
This was another powerful novel by Lisa See. I’ll keep reading her books as long as she writes them.
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