The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A Novel by Lisa SeeThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A Novel by Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A Novel

byLisa See

Paperback | March 21, 2017

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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.
Lisa See was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles, spending much of her time in Chinatown. She is of Chinese decent. Her first book, On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995), was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. The book traces the journey of Lisa's great-grandfathe...
Title:The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:March 21, 2017Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:150116631X

ISBN - 13:9781501166310

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from fascinating read!! I loved this book. It feels as if I have discovered something special, through the main character's journey and all the teachings about tea. Lisa has a spectacular way of incorporating real factual information into a fictional story that captivates.
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating read I found the customs of the heroine's tribe very interesting (and horrifying too) to read about. Could have trimmed the info about tea a bit. Was dissatisfied with the way the book ended.
Date published: 2018-04-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Prefer her other books Lisa See is such a great writer and Love most of her books, but this one isn't my favourite.
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from not her best Not Lisa See's best work. While I always enjoy learning about a time and place in history I've not been exposed to, I felt this time her extensive research came at the price of the writing. The characters and plot felt forced, and I really had to push myself to finish it.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Engaging book The author once again sweeps the reader off to a completely different world with rich characters and a greta story.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read This book was very well done. The author does a tremendous job of putting together a wonderful story to capture the readers imagination. The detail that goes into this book is nothing but perfection. I look forward to reading more
Date published: 2017-12-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! This book is well written and difficult to put down. It takes you to a different place and way of life.
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I really loved this book--I read it in a weekend! Such an interesting story and I loved the way it was written. Interesting historical aspect as well. Definitely a good one to grab!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting It was an interesting peek at the history of tea.
Date published: 2017-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A perfect read for the weekend! Lisa See's latest book didn't disappoint! I learned about the Pu'er tea and the history of foreign adoption through this book. And who doesn't love a Cinderella ending?
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An enjoyable read! I really enjoyed the Tea Girl! While there are a few books out about lost children and a search for your roots, I liked the cultural element of this book and the central theme of tea. It was not only a great story, but educational as well!
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful A wonderful calm relaxing read but so enthralling
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Story I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I learned a little about another culture and a little about tea. The characters were easy to empathize with and you want to keep reading to find out what will happen to them next!
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! I finished this book yesterday and it was amazing. I loved the story and I learned so much about China, Tea and it's heritage. A wonderful story of love.
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! Thank you for an opportunity to read and review this beautiful novel that I quite enjoyed reading. I would give it 4.5/5 stars. I loved the way the author incorporated the Akha culture and customs into her story and being a fan of tea I enjoyed reading and learning more about Pu'er . At it's core, I think it's a beautiful story about mothers and daughters, even if it's tied up a little too neatly towards the end I would certainly recommend it ! (already gave a copy to my mother to read!)
Date published: 2017-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good An interesting read. Well written.
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read If you're a fan of Lisa See's other novels, you'll probably enjoy this one as well. This novel follows the life of Li-yan as she challenges Akha traditions and discovers the world beyond her village. As usual, Lisa See's novels are full of details that allow the reader to immerse themselves into Chinese culture and tradition. I would definitely recommend this book!
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful novel (4.5 stars) I quite enjoyed this novel by Lisa See. I loved the way she incorporated the Akha culture and customs into her story and being a fan of tea I enjoyed reading and learning more about Pu'er . At it's core, I think it's a beautiful story about mothers and daughters, even if it's tied up a little too neatly towards the end !
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another hit by Lisa See We learn about tea (a lot) and the customs & lifestyle of the Akha people of China. Li-yan lives by the customs of her people but then something happens to make her go against the traditions. A heartwarming story. Lisa See has done it again.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully written First let's set up a couple of things: 1) this book is about tea. How it's grown, picked, fermented, dried, wrapped, sold, etc. 2) this book is about being a Chinese minority (Akha) and how that makes one standout 3) and this book is about international adoption. Both sides of adoption are explored here; the parent giving away their child and the child whom has been given up The narrative is beautiful and generally compelling. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is without doubt a historical fiction novel; it's just that the history it tells is quite recent. And for many, including myself, it's always sobering and a bit shocking to think of people living without common amenities (like electricity and running water) in the late part of the 20th century. And not because necessarily choose to be without technology but because they are so poor and remotely located these amenities are foreign to them. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is so well researched you could probably write a thesis about the tradition and origin of tea from it. I hadn't read a Lisa See book before this and didn't know what to expect. At times while reading this I wondered how much was really true about the tea trade and Akha tradition. Had I paid attention I would have found out sooner (than the acknowledgements) that Lisa See did tons of research; never mind, she visited the area and villages she speaks about! This means the richness and details of tea and the culture are impeccable. It's even better that because they are presented in the context of our story the details are never boring. I know a few people have been put off by the beginning of this novel, and I too was a bit unsure. The introduction includes a very graphic description of a birth and a horror immediately following it. I can see how some would immediately stop reading for fear the whole book is this way. Rest assured, it's not. The most graphic parts are early in the story and not a common theme throughout. It is worth the pay-off to stick through the beginning if your at all captivated by Lisa See's gorgeous story and writing. That said, I can't help but feel this book would probably be five stars for me if there had been a little more restraint with the graphic details of birthing in a village with no amenities. As someone whom has not had children (and cannot) I felt like the explicit descriptions here were excessive and in the end added no real value even for someone like me who has not experienced or witnessed birth firsthand. I think it could have been described without all the gory moments. Another small critique is that midway through I felt like I had just read a thought and there it was repeated. So perhaps a tiny bit of editing the fat would have helped (not details of the tea or Akha; just the narrative of our main gal was a bit repetitive). Overall, a gorgeous book that reveals a part of Chinese (minority) culture most didn't even know existed (myself included). I would go far as to say this is the 'Memoirs of a Geisha' for the Akha. If you are at all intrigued by any of the following: Chinese culture, tea, one child policy, international adoption, the love a mother has, how a group goes from a traditional tribe to becoming a part of the 21st century, or historical fiction in general, then I believe you will enjoy this book immensely. <I>Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave poor reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad.</I>
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a story! An excellent addition to any library.
Date published: 2017-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Do! I bought this a month ago and I'm so happy I did!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Fantastic Read would certainly recommend
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lisa See has outdone herself #plumreview I am a long time fan of this author. Admittedly I have enjoyed some of her books more than others. Snow Flower has always been my favourite but I truly love The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. Ms See gives us many aspects of Chinese experience in one book, all under the umbrella of tea. My education into the growing and production of tea has grown, as has my appreciation for the experience of girls adopted out of China. The ending of this story led me to hope there might be a sequel. I hope so.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such an engrossing read! Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book. Prepare to transport yourself to remote China - to characters who feel like they lived in the late nineteenth /early twentieth century, even though the story starts in the 1990s. Lisa See brings to life a world in which Spirits and old customs guide a young girl's life until she finally finds the courage to leave and embark on new adventures. Li-yan is an Akha, an ethnic minority who lives in the Tea Growing region of China (at one point the Akha are compared to the North American Cree). Born to a poor family she is encouraged to attend school and pursue a life outside of the forest. The story Lisa See weaves is page-turning addictive: first love, an unwed mother who must give away her daughter, who then suffers loss, then finds success and a new love. We see the struggle between remaining faithful to her upbringing while also accepting the changes in her life. Well developed characters, wonderful writing (such a clear and authentic Chinese voice) and a story well told. Except. For the Haley storyline. Haley is Li-yan's daughter who was abandoned and then adopted by an American couple. I think Lisa See was trying to include the one-child rule in the story (and how strict it was), as well as an awareness of how many baby girls where then adopted out of China in the 1990s. I found that it was the most disjointed part of the book; the parts told by either Haley or her adoptive mother's perspective felt less authentic than the Chinese voice and felt like it broke the story up a little too much. I'm all for a subplot, but I didn't think that this one was necessary - or should have been even more developed. That said. This is still a 4 star read because it was able to transport me to an entirely foreign place, an unknown culture and people, and was able to make tea growing and selling really interesting. A recommended read.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vivid, Engrossing & Intriguing! Atmospheric, evocative, and remarkably researched! This story is predominantly set in a mountainous village in rural China where the Akha subsist off the tea tree leaves that grace the landscape and are governed by the ancient superstitions, traditions and spirituality passed down from generation to generation. The prose is descriptive and precise. The characters are genuine, strong, intelligent and hardworking. And the story has two distinct plots; one involving the coming-of-age, independence, perseverance and success of Li-Yan as she bravely follows her aspirations beyond the confines of her home; and the other which details the struggles and difficulties faced by her daughter, Haley, being raised by adoptive parents of a different race, culture and country than that of her ancestry. I would have to say that although I found the history of tea production and insight into the ethnic minorities of China incredibly fascinating and enjoyable in this novel the ending felt just a little bit rushed. I would definitely have appreciated and welcomed a few more pages dedicated to the climactic mother-daughter reunion at the end. However, overall this book is well written, engrossing and well worth the read.
Date published: 2017-03-22