The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane ~ See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
Lisa See

Available at libraries near me: Hartford Public Library, OneClick Digital e-book, print version; Library Connection consortium (several formats available)

Further information and reviews at Goodreads.

I’m a big tea drinker. Historical fiction, featuring tea? Yes, please. I started reading this as an e-book, which made it difficult to determine which was page 13. Should I use the digital or analog page 13? I decided to find the print copy and use the analog, just to keep things uniform.

A month or two ago I set out to buy more e-books. I found Tea Girl somewhere on a list of popular books, and it fit some of my other criteria. The price was right (e-book pricing for libraries is much higher than if you buy something on your own), our analog copy was circulating well, and more importantly, I wanted to diversify our author offerings.

As I started reading, I was immediately struck by how everyone was called by their rank or position: First Brother, Second Sister-in-Law, etc. We are reading about a family, and a rather close knit one at that, and yet their given names are only used for official reasons.

On page 13, Girl has just been found taking a bite of some food, stolen by another child. Both children’s families follow Akha (their tribe) Law, and cleansing ceremonies must be performed to right this wrong. I loved the exchange.

“May I ask on which day of the cycle your son was born?”

“San-pa was born on Tiger Day, the ninth day of the cycle,” his mother answers, trying to be helpful. 

My family members shift their weight from foot to foot in response to this regrettable information.

The discomfort that comes from immediately recognizing that what you just heard isn’t good, is so easy to picture.

We are still getting to know all the characters at this point. It is still the first chapter, but the author is doing a very good job of setting the scene. I’m enjoying her writing style, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Worth checking out: Yes


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