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Publisher's Summary

A thrilling new novel exploring the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate - the first automobile any of them have seen - and a stranger arrives. In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people.

Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley's happy home life, she wonders about her origins, and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family's destiny for generations.

In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. A powerful story about a family separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.

©2017 Lisa See (P)2017 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What listeners say about The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

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Fantastic story!

I have longed for some armchair travel to a remote and culturally diverse place for some time, and Lisa See’s book delivered it in spades. Transported off to a different world altogether, I not only discovered the culture of the Akha people (one of the 50 ethnic minorities living in China), but learned so much about my favourite beverage – tea – that it has added a whole new depth to my morning cuppa of Chinese Jasmine tea. See seamlessly blends facts and fiction, educating the armchair traveller as the story progresses and adding depth to her characters. I fell in love with Li-yan, and felt quite bereft when the book ended. Li-yan’s journey from her simple and yet culturally rich life in the remote mountain village in Yunnan to being confronted with all the trappings of 20th century life was fascinating. I often tried to put myself in her shoes, thinking how strange it must feel to come from a place without cars and electricity, and suddenly having to learn her way around a computer, catch a plane, drive a car. Such different worlds! See’s astute descriptions of how the 21st century finally catches up with the Akha people were also thought provoking, as I have witnessed these changes myself when travelling to previously untouched regions, where everyone suddenly owns a mobile phone.

Following Li-yan’s life from her early childhood to young adulthood and finally being a wife and mother, the book took me on an incredible journey I will remember for a long time to come. I thoroughly admired Li-yan’s courage and resilience in the face of adversity, and she soon was as real to me as someone I had known all my life. I now feel like I want to go to Yunnan and sip some of the famous Pu’er’ tea that influenced Li-yan’s life so much! Whilst most of the book is written from Li-yan’s POV, See incorporates some clever and unusual chapters revealing the fate of Li-yan’s abandoned daughter, who has been adopted by a wealthy American couple and is struggling with her own identity as she grows up not knowing her origins. Whilst I initially struggled with Hailey’s voice in the narration, I was able to connect more deeply with her towards the end of the book, and found her story a worthwhile journey in its own right. See’s insights into cross-cultural adoption made for some interesting reflection and discussion points, and it would be interesting to read more about Hailey’s life in the years following the book’s ending.

Hours of pleasure and joyful anticipation of my commute (and listening to the story) later, and I am still rocked by the emotional impact the story had on me. A fantastic read, and very much recommended. Don’t be put off by the title, as I was, because this in an author that really packs some punch and you won’t regret picking up this marvel of a book. Definitely on my favourite list for the year!

3 people found this helpful

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Wow what a fantastic book.

This is a moving book about different cultures, family, a mothers love, tea, adoption, seperation loss and tragedy, resilience, spirituality and so much more. The characters are really well developed I feel like I know them and I will miss them now. I found this book impossible to put down and even though I usually prefer non fiction books I feel like I learnt a great deal about Chinese culture and ethnic minorities as well as adoption and I would highly recommend this book. One of those books that leaves you longing for more at the end.

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Identity, a spiritual path and love.

I loved this book. I once visited the Akha tribe in northern Thailand and I was touched by their beauty and confidence. This story made me feel so deeply about the importance of understanding one's roots and the coincidences and crossed paths that brought you into existence. It was a beautifully told narrative that spoke very frankly about concepts of identity. I strongly recommend this book.

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Beautiful, love the story .

Beautifuly narrated. The story is compelling and full of warm moments. Totally recomend this book

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fasinating story

This is a lovely story of different cultures and beleifs and of generational mother traditions.

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Sun and Moon

Wow what a beautiful story. A must read if you love history culture and love

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Wonderful!

The audio rendition is fabulous and the story beautiful.
Throughly recommend this especially if you love tea.

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  • Dee Cunningham
  • 24-05-2020

Enchanting

I absolutely loved every minute of listening to this utterly enchanting story. My heart broke at times, but the history and the tea making process and culture was fascinating!

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  • Frauke
  • 16-12-2018

Very interesting and enticing story

Both the story and the narrator's were very good! The book follows the physical and emotional journey of a girl born in a remote mountain village in China, her life in the village with ancient traditions and beliefs and, later on, her encounters with the rest of China and the western world. Meanwhile, the reader periodically follows the story of the illegitimate child the main character had to give away at a young age. The novel is emotional, thought provoking, and hard to out down.

3 people found this helpful

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  • B. A. Weekes
  • 08-11-2019

Stunning, Lisa See at her best

Heartbroken it's finished...can't wait for the next one. Lisa See is brilliant at evoking the mood and weaving the culture.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-04-2019

Fav

My fav book of the year so far.
Intricate and beautifully written and I loved the premise.
Lovely reading style too.
So hard to picture it began in 1988 rather than early 1900’s.

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  • sally
  • 05-12-2020

Compelling

Fascinating setting. Great story and characters. in love with tea now. romantic. far fetched in places but that's OK

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  • miss e m aguero
  • 16-10-2020

fantastic book

Apart from the fab story, you learn so much about history and culture. such vivid writing. Beautifully read. Lisa See is my new fave author

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  • AK
  • 22-09-2020

wonderful story

i enjoyed how the author wove historical and cultural facts into this story. so good

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-2020

all you ever wanted to know about tea but

were afraid to ask...
Beginning absolutely fascinating, but
cutesy story ending which distracted me from the story arc.
Well read

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  • Jenny
  • 27-03-2020

When is the sequel?

I didn't take to this book at first , not sure why. I persevered and it soon became a book I had to listen to at every opportunity.
I both love and dislike the ending as I want more of the story.
This is an interesting, heartfelt, frustrating annoying but enjoyable book. It has left me wanting to research things she wrote about. I'm glad I finished it.

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  • Mintychristine
  • 29-10-2019

Loved Snow Flower and secret fan

It's always slightly disappointing when a book doesn't quite hit the same spot It did shock me some of the cultural ideals but that said it was an enjoyable listen Audio was quite good

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  • kim fulton
  • 13-04-2019

lovely read

loved it. Had me hooked from the begining. not only is the story well told but I have learned so much about the importance of Chinese tea

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