The Bibliophiliac’s Corner – “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane”
By Amanda Merriman
I am a huge fan of author Lisa See. When I got her latest novel, “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane,” I excitedly delved into it. She is a master of historical fiction and this is proven again with this book.
This saga begins in 1988 in the remote mountains of China, where readers are introduced to people of the Akha tribe. The Akha are an ethnic minority, whose traditions keep them isolated from the rest of the world. Akha life centers on these beliefs and tea farming. From the beginning, Li-Yan wrestles with the practices of her culture. There is a beauty in a rich history of traditions, though sometimes a dark side as well. Li-Yan experiences this while training to be a midwife, as things go horribly wrong with a birth in the village. Though hard to read through, this part of the story is integral to the rest of Li-Yan’s journey.
Li-Yan is one of the few educated girls in her tribe and becomes the translator for a stranger who visits the village looking for a rare tea. This window to the outside world opens further when she has a baby out of wedlock. Li-Yan’s story unfolds in unimagined ways, with many twists and turns, with her daughter always lingering in her thoughts. Her daughter’s life carries on thousands of miles away. The drama of their separation will make readers burn through the pages to find out if their paths ever intersect.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a thought-provoking novel. It is a great pick for book clubs. In fact, the club I belong to recently discussed this book. We talked about traditions, superstitions, adoption, and immigration to name a few. All of us decided that we were inspired to learn more about tea. I encourage you to check out See’s website www.lisasee.com/insideteagirl/ to learn more about the research that went into writing this book.
Fellow bibliophiles and book club members, feel free to join in the dialogue. Blog your thoughts and feedback at www.castlepinesconnection.com and enter the keyword “bibliophiliac” in the search bar. Have you read a great book recently? Email your find to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.