Although I enjoyed this story, I expected a bit more, given how long I was on the wait list to get this book from the library.
It’s good. Just not great. The best part for me was learning about a particular minority ethnic group in China I was not familiar with.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A Novel by Lisa See is a compelling story of the remote Akha mountain people of China. The Akha in 1988 when the story begins, are still a very superstitious and traditional people, living a poor existence in their remote region with little food, power or plumbing. Their traditions and tea farming life go back thousands of years and have changed little over the centuries.
But slowly the modern world approaches and the long-established customs of these people are challenged in every way possible. The book follows the life of Li-yan, a girl from a family of tea farmers. It is her generation that will be directly affected by the challenges to the conventional and somewhat ignorant way of life, and the encroachment of the modern world.
Li-yan faces scandal and gives up a baby girl, then leaves the village to go to college and eventually becomes a highly successful tea broker. Back in the village life is changing dramatically as the cultivation of the now highly prized Pu’er tea is making all the village extremely wealthy.
But Li-yan never forgets the daughter she abandoned and wonders about her always.
It’s not too hard to come up with how this will end, and a few too many coincidences bring it all together in the end.
But the book is interesting for the education I received about the very lucrative world of tea, the fascinating culture of the Akha, and the heart-tugging topic of the one-child society of China.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four stars for The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A Novel, by Lisa See
Read last week’s review of The Altruist.