Well, I’ve been reading up a storm these past few weeks (just finished another book in under two days – yes I do actually have a life). I will reluctantly admit I had to start The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane twice because I didn’t get hooked the first time round. But the reviews and really my own mother’s glowing praise of the book sent me back for a second shot. I locked myself in my room and decided I was going to get through the first 100 pages before deciding. It took me 52.
I met Lisa See at a wonderful Simon & Schuster lunch and she was such a vibrant warm woman that I had a vested interest in reading her newest book. I’m happy to report both my mother and the reviews were spot on. I am now a HUGE Lisa See fan.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is the most compelling story about a young girl, Li-yan, born in a hill tribe in the mountains of China where superstition is king. Every animal, tree, leave has a spirit and the Akha people live according to a very firm set of beliefs. It’s a curious time because other parts of China are changing very rapidly and the Akha are mostly protected from these changes, but Li-yan must leave her home after a series of misfortunes befall her. The life she finds beyond the tea trees of her home will have you in tears while rallying around her as she grows and accepts an eventuality she never expected for herself.
See is a gifted storyteller and having never read about the Akha people I was pulled into this curious and incredible world of tea with its stunning mountain backdrop. With an incredibly beautiful ending, I was sad only because there was no more to read.