Review of “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See


I would like to thank NetGalley, Scribner and Lisa See for the ARC of “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See, for my honest review.
The genres of this novel are Women’s Fiction, and Historical Fiction.
I applaud Lisa See for the research that went into the Akha people, traditions, culture, and the diversity of different teas and that importance to the Yunnan Village. I found the descriptions of the making tea, and the variety and processing intriguing.
In this fictional novel, I find that Lisa See has done an amazing job, describing her character’s traditions, and culture and their feelings.
We are first introduced to Li-yan, and her family as tea growers in the Yunnon village. Li-yan ‘s mother is the mid wife and also dispenses home made medicine from leaves and roots to sick people. There are strict traditions. If a woman of the village gives birth to twins, it is a sign of bad spirits and the twins have to be destroyed. The parents are forced to leave the village and there is a ritual cleansing of the village.
At this time in history, women are not regarded as important. There is also a time when the Akha women are to marry. Li-yan’s only dowry is a hidden property up in the hills with very old trees. These trees produce the best tea. Li-yan’s mother is superstitious and no man is allowed to see this land.
Unlike most of the women villagers, Li-yan is allowed to go to school, and is very smart. She passes tests and gets higher education. Li-yan meets a student she has known for years, and falls in love. Her family doesn’t approve and won’t let him marry her. He leaves to make his fortune and promises to come back.
Meanwhile, Li-yan finds herself pregnant, and this also is against their traditions. Instead of destroying the baby, she leaves it by an orphanage, with a blanket, and a cake of tea from her tree. Li-yan is devastated.
This baby is named Haley and is adopted by two scientist in America. Haley always wonders why her Chinese mother gave her up. Somehow, Haley finds an interest in tea.
Li-yan furthers her education, and then specializes in tea leaves. Tea like wine has certain properties. Li-yan has had a very hard life, but through hard work does well in business.
Li-yan always feels the loss of her baby girl, and Haley always wonders about her heritage. As time passes, and the internet is around, both try to find each other.
I love the way Lisa See writes about family, love, culture, traditions,honor and hope. I would highly recommend this enjoyable book.

3 comments on “Review of “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See”

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