The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A journey of a life story. Sit down, buckle up and get ready for this roller-coaster ride.
Lin-yan was born into a tea-producing family and has grown up with the Akha culture in a little village in the mountains of China. Throughout her life, she always seems to be holding a thread to her past and tries so damn hard (I still think that she's a bad-ass). At first, I saw a hard working ten year old with traditional dreams, but as the book went on I absolutely fell in love with her-the character. Her life was so different from my own, which is perhaps why I could make that deep emotional connection. There are themes such as: family, heritage, tradition, and culture are major components in this telling of her life.
Character arcs are my favorite part of these types of stories. We start out being thrown into a foreign culture (to me at least) where we can see the character questioning some of things that are going on, we go through the life changing moments that defined her, and at the end, we get what we were waiting for. It's just a beautiful thing to experience as a reader, to feel like you're almost growing up with this beloved character and at the end you feel like you've lost a friend.
Lisa See is a master at writing poetic prose, an absorbing story, and introducing an ethnic minority (the Akha) that I didn't know existed. This book provides a fascinating look in Lin-yan 's life over a span of 20 years and how the world is changing and how she's changing. Rich Chinese history is presented with the focus being on the narrative of the main characters, with some solid side characters that accompanied that grow on you (especially A-ma.)
Although the part about the adoptive child, Haley was in the synopsis I purposely didn't read it and was surprised with that revelation. But this whole book comes back to that crucial mother-daughter bond and how these two very different people love and think about each other across the miles that separate them.
It was absolutely magical to see the perspectives coming from both of them in alternating chapters (sometimes abrupt) and just wanting so bad for them to finally find a way for each-other. This single thing at play was in my opinion that most compelling thing in the book, and this was the turning point of interest for me. Before these events happened, I was like "meh" but once that happening I was completely engrossed in the journey and the outcome of that journey.
There wasn't anything particular that I disliked. See absolutely nailed this book on the head and now I can't wait to go back and read all of her backlist!
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**
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