The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane Summary and Reviews

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

by Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See X
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2017
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate - the first automobile any of them have seen - and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley's happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family's destiny for generations.

A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With vivid and precise details about tea and life in rural China, Li-Yan's gripping journey to find her daughter comes alive." - Publishers Weekly

"As this is her first book since losing her own mother, bestselling author Carolyn See (to whom it is dedicated), See's focus on the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters, by birth and by circumstance, becomes an extraordinary homage to unconditional love." - Booklist

"With strong female characters, See deftly confronts the changing role of minority women, majority-minority relations, East-West adoption, and the economy of tea in modern China. Fans of See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan will appreciate this novel." - Library Journal

"Although representing exhaustive research on See's part, and certainly engrossing, the extensive elucidation of international adoption, tea arcana, and Akha lore threatens to overwhelm the human drama. Still, a riveting exercise in fictional anthropology." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Lisa See Author Biography

Lisa See was born in Paris in 1955 but grew up in Los Angeles, spending much of her time in Chinatown. She is the daughter of author Carolyn See (described as a "leading literary figure of Southern California" who died in July 2016 aged 82.) Lisa's first book, On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family, was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of 1995. The book traces the journey of Lisa's great-grandfather, Fong See, who overcame obstacles at every step to become the 100-year-old godfather of Los Angeles's Chinatown and the patriarch of a sprawling family.

It was while collecting the details of her family history for On Gold Mountain that she developed the idea for her first novel, Flower Net, which was ...

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