Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (audiobook)

genre: historical fiction

One girl from the Akha Ethnic Minority culture.

One tea cake.

In the far mountains of China lives a community of tea growers.  Tight-knit with incredibly strict traditions, Li-yan grows up knowing exactly where she fits in the world.  She appeases the spirits, she helps her mother who is a healer and midwife, and she picks tea.  It isn't long, however, before the tranquilly of this mountain life is disrupted by an outsider and Li-yan's choices lead to an untenable situation: she is pregnant and unmarried, a taboo in her culture.  Li-yan's decisions, the friends she makes, the place she finds herself in between traditional and modern life, all of this is at the crux of this book.  

I found myself completely immersed in this story, especially enjoying learning about the tea-making culture and the struggles of adoptees from China.  I cared about Li-yan and while somethings seemed too horrible to bear, some things also seemed too good to be true, but I was able to suspend my disbelief for both.  As an audiobook, I loved the voice of Li-yan and to hear the words spoken in Chinese. The other narrator's more juvenile voice grated on me a bit - it never seemed to age the way I expected it too, but still, I'm not disappointed I listened instead of read.  

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