March 23 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Bookshop Santa Cruz is thrilled to welcome New York Times bestselling author Lisa See as she presents her new novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. See’s previous books, including China Dolls, Dreams of Joy, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, have been celebrated for their authentic, deeply researched, lyrical stories about Chinese characters and cultures. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane explores the bonds between a Chinese woman from the Akha ethnic minority and the daughter she gives up for adoption.
Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea in their remote Yunnan village. There is ritual and routine, as there has been for generations. When Li-Yan has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition and kill her daughter (which Akha custom deems “a human reject”), she wraps the baby girl in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and takes a perilous journey to the nearest city. There, although devastated, she abandons the infant, hoping someone else can care for her.
Li-yan slowly emerges from her grief and begins to look beyond the security and insularity of her village. As she encounters modern life, her daughter 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.
See, who grew up in a large Chinese-American family in Los Angeles, incorporates impressive research on international adoption; the history of the Akha people in China; and Pu’er tea farming and customs to tell 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.