Published by Scribner on March 21st 2017
Buy on Amazon
The one thing I know I can count on with Author Lisa See is consistency. Her novels are always good. I love books that cause me to think and feel while at the same time educating me. See delivers on all of those. See writes books mainly about female characters either living in China, the United States or both. I always learn about Chinese customs and culture when reading her books. She does a lot of research and it shows in her writing. Her novels also revolve around characters and story lines which are compelling and though provoking.
Li-yan grows up in rural mountain village in China. She is one of the Akha people. They have strict rules for living, they follow century old traditions that centers around family. Li-yan is one of the rare girls who is educated. She also is one who learns to question their traditions and go against the beliefs of her people. When she becomes pregnant out of wedlock, she is forced to give birth in secret and gives up the baby girl who is subsequently adopted.
Li-yan eventually moves on with her life but her life does not turn out to be the way she had hoped. Life is neither easy nor is it fair as she learns all to well. After being widowed at a young age, she turns to her families tradition of tea making to make a living. She lives in the city and eventually meets another man who will change her life. She never stops thinking about the daughter she gave birth to years earlier.
Haley, the daughter that Li-yan abandoned is adopted and raised in the United States. She has loving parents but always wonders about her origins. She was left with a tea cake. She has questions about it and about the Mother who gave her away.
Both Haley and Li-yan’s stories are interwoven. As their stories are told the reader learns about tea making, Chinese customs and culture. We also learn about the experiences of adoptive parents and the experiences of those who are adopted and raised in another culture.
Thought provoking, heartwarming, and educational.