Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Title: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane 
Author: Lisa See
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Scribner
Publish Date: March 21, 2017
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

"The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane" is yet another good one by Lisa See. I loved this book so much! See has a great way of making people and situations that may seem unfamiliar to readers accessible to them. Li-yan's family has been in the tea business for ages and it is what they dedicate so much of their time towards. Li-yan dreams of breaking away but isn't sure how to do it until she finds herself pregnant out of wedlock. This will open many new doors and close many others for Li-yan, a character that you will fall in love with.

As with Lisa See's other books, the detail in this book is great. Aside from the characters and their drama, See introduces us to the tea making and drinking business. Li-yan's family is beholden to the businessman that comes to get tea specifically from their mountain. He can provide them with riches but must always be obeyed. I learned so much about the tea business and while I love drinking tea, I can't say that I had ever given much thought to the business before.

I loved the characters in this book, especially our main character Li-Yan. Smart and resourceful, she never gives up. I loved following her through this book through all of her triumphs and tribulations. I don't want to give anything away but this book also had one of the most moving endings that I have read in awhile.



  1. I'm glad to read your review. I've never read Lisa See, and my bookclub is scheduled to read this. I wasn't looking forward to it until now.

  2. I love her books. You’re right her attention to detail is amazing. I always feel taken away to another world reading her work. Glad you enjoyed it.


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