Book Review Club: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See #reviews #amreading

Tea Girl coverThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
by Lisa See
Scribner, 2017

In this fascinating book, Lisa See sheds light on Chinese culture, tea plantations, and China’s one-child policy.

The main character, Li-yan, is a member of the Akha people, an indigenous tribe living in the mountains of China, as well as neighboring countries like Thailand.

Li-yan’s family are tea planters and pickers in a remote village largely untouched by time. Her only knowledge of the outside world comes from her lessons at the local school where she is one of the best students. As she grows older, she is encouraged by her teacher to seek further education. But hormones intervene and she finds herself pregnant out of wedlock. She has no choice but to give her baby to an orphanage where the child is adopted by an American couple.

In a sense, the book is a twin-stranded story line, though the parts involving her daughter Haley are pretty sketchy until the girl grow older. In the meantime, Li-yan’s life tracks the progress of Westernization in China, including a bubble in the tea market. Despite the ups and downs and success of her life, Li-yan never forgets her daughter, who longs to one day meet her mother.

I loved this book. The glimpses into another culture were fascinating, if at times appalling. Some of the Akha superstitions were understandable but some were just silly and others downright cruel. Li-yan is a strong female character, and I enjoyed watching her mature. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in China and anyone who loves good women’s fiction.

Dear FCC, I checked this book out of the public library.

What have you read lately?


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#Paris: Musee D’Orsay Statues and Impressionists #TuesdayTravels

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After leaving the sadness of the Conciergerie, Rebecca and I got back on the Metro for a short ride to Musee D’Orsay, situated on the left bank of the Seine close to the river. This is an amazing museum, located in a 19th century train station built on monumental proportions. The open plan of the wide main hall, lined with statues, came as a nice contrast to the claustrophobia of the prison. The overall ambience of the museum lifted our spirits considerably.

Musee D'Orsay

We wandered down the Main Hall, enjoying the statues in the former rail concourse.

The huge clock on the wall was fascinating to see. I took way too many pictures of it. If you look closely, You can see the other side of the Seine.

Orsay clockHere’s a better view taken from the fifth floor. The church perched on top of the hill must be Sacre Couer in Montmartre.

Sacre CouerFinally we got into a very small and crowded elevator and headed for the fifth floor to see the Impressionist paintings. The gallery was long and wide and contained dozens of paintings, many of the famous and easily recognizable. Of all the artists represented, my favorites were Monet (always #1) as well as Degas, Cezanne and Renoir. The light was dimmer than downstairs and my photos didn’t come out as well, so please excuse any fuzziness.

I really loved these two paintings: City Dance and Country Dance. The country couple do seem to be having more fun!

Country Dance City Dance

Country Dance and City Dance by Pierre Auguste Renoir

This was one of our longer days and we were exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel. I really do not recommend trying to see Paris in four days!