The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane - Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

By Lisa See

  • Release Date: 2017-03-21
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4.5
From 696 Ratings


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, “one of those special writers capable of delivering both poetry and plot” (The New York Times Book Review), a moving novel about tradition, tea farming, and the bonds between mothers and daughters.

In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.

The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.

As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.

A powerful story about 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 of family.



  • Enthralling

    By StarAW
    I loved this book. It was a little slow in the beginning, but I kept reading and I’m so glad I did! I love how everything fit together. I loved this book and can’t wait to try some Pu’er.
  • Amazing research

    By C. Laurin
    I really enjoyed this thoroughly researched story. The writing was very well-structured and the storyline flawless. So it was a great read for me. That being said, it felt a bit formulaic and expository. Nothing wrong with that, it just didn’t feel like a literary journey, more like a love story on several levels (parent-child, romantic partner), stitching together facts and situations surrounding Chinese adoptees, and those of the tea world. I appreciated the neatly tied threads of all the individual story lines, but found all that the coincidences a bit fairytale-ish. Still liked it very much.
  • Eye opening

    By Awesome kpop
    Lisa See never disappoints with her story telling.
  • Incredible Story with Great Insights

    By CinnamonRich
    From start to finish this story is fascinating. I love the level of detail this author leverages to make you feel you are there watching this story unfold.w
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

    By Barbara Lee MS
    This story of an adopted girl, her adopted mother’s love for her, her birth mother’s longing for her and the emotional confusion of the child is a universal theme made All the more interesting by adding the international history, politics and culture of the people whose story is being told. Linda See is a gifted writer whose novels always are woven by a golden thread through out / from the first paragraph to the last page the reader is carried along by this golden thread woven by Lina See’s creative imagination. .
  • Sees best yet

    By Pculea
    Loved this book, and felt it is Lisa Sees best book yet. Which says a lot as I have loved all of her books. As others have said, I learned a lot about tea, but loved the insight into children adopted by families of different cultures.
  • Loved it

    By Desireefaithr
    From start to finish, I couldn't put the book down
  • Great insights, couldn't put it down

    By +ShumOne+
    This book is really a insightful look into a lot of things people might not normally empathize with. The plot is beautiful and well written. I loved it.
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

    By Zumbafool
    I generally enjoy historical fiction and although this book is set in China (for the most part) during the past 30 years, because of the isolation and archaic customs of the ethnic minorities/hill tribes, this story had that same timeless feel to it. The reason this type of literature is of appeal is because I always learn something. Here I learned much about tea, it's harvesting and preparation, its scientific make-up and curative properties but I also learned about the particular challenges for international/inter-racial adoptees and their families. I also learned a lot about the ethnic peoples in China, their lifestyle and how much life has changed for them in the recent past. Lastly, I loved the emphasis on the different relationships between the characters: the mothers and daughters, the young lovers, even the nuances of the relationships between friends. It all felt realistic, the dialog, the fully developed characters (particularly as Haley aged), and the complexities of our relationships to those we are closest to. I would not describe this as a "light read" but I do highly recommend it.
  • Wonderful book!!

    By woodycreekgirl
    her best book yet. i loved it...