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.
Lisa See gets back to what made "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" so great: women growing beyond social
constraints in plausible ways and a rich cultural experience.
I should probably mention that I love loose leaf tea. The care and deep appreciation for tea, experiencing characters who live in a tea picking society, the roots of tea in our main character's culture -- I loved reading about it all! I definitely had to steep some cups to drink while reading. I felt like I was tea geeking out with this book as it outlined the taste experience of tea and its production methods. For me, it was a fabulous experience.
The society our main character is born into is so richly detailed by See. The deeply-believed, long-held superstitions, especially in modern times no less, is both shocking and fascinating. The care and detail See provides for this Chinese minority culture is quite the experience. So enjoyable! See writes this culture with such compassion, which comes across strongly through the pages.
Our main character has such beautiful moments and growth. Seeing how she develops from a sheltered cultural woman to selling tea in the wide world kept me turning the pages. The side characters and their connections to our MC is also quite intriguing. Every character is well drawn.
This books has a lot of things I love in it, so I had high expectations. See definitely lived up to those expectations and more. Gorgeous settings, beautiful cultural elements, and intriguing characters make this a fantastic first read of 2018 for me! This book will definitely be going into my top read books of all time.
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse