Historical fiction sprinkled with a family drama excites me as a reader. The last I read historical fiction with juicy gossips was Indu Sundaresan’s “The feast of roses”. The book told me a lot about Mughal’s and especially the women of that era. In this almost 400 pages long novel Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See writes about a hill tribe of China called Akha, who are traditional people with very different perspectives and societal rules than the larger general public. They heavily believe in spirits, omens, and sacrifices. One primary reason for the population to remain oblivious to the new age fast-moving world is because of the mountains they live in. The mountains isolate them from the changing and global world. This is not unbelievable and can be seen if someone travels to the isolated villages of Uttarakhand itself, where one may find traditions which none of the new age generations even know about.
The book’s primary character is Li-Yan, a girl with an exceptionally dramatic life. She belongs to the Akha tribe who primarily do tea plantation and tea plucking. There is a lot that happens with Li-Yan in the first 20-30% of the book itself, where she goes through a lot in her personal life and finally escapes the backward or rather traditional beliefs of her family. Unfortunately, the book enchants a reader like me only till then. Thereafter the book gives redundant information about tea-making methods and unusually invested yet boring family drama. By the end of the book, it felt like I was here to do a diploma in tea making.
Giving you information about a section of the world while narrating it as a story is what historical fictions do best. However here the information section was too long particularly for someone like me who is not captivated by tea in real life too. The book can be purchased from Amazon.