Lisa See brings us into the incredible world of pu’er tea. Hidden away in a remote Chinese mountain village lives the Akha, farmers of pu’er tea. Here, we meet Li-yan and her family. Li-yan’s troubles begin when she meets a young boy who has stolen a scallion pancake and offers it to her. They are caught and punishment (cleansing) ensues. They are not a good match for each other, so their parents do not agree to a marital match. Li-yan is the only daughter, which entitles her to an inheritance of a special grove of tea trees that holds medicinal properties, a place no one is supposed to know about. It is a grove that only she and her mother take care of on top of all of their other duties. We watch as Li-yan grows up, goes off to school, falls in love with the wrong boy who runs off after getting her pregnant with promises to return after he has found gainful employment. He doesn’t return before the child is born, so she is forced to give up the child. When he does return, it is too late to get the child back. We watch as Li-yan travels many miles, has many trials of sadness and defeat before discovering happiness in Pu’er tea. An incredible journey marked with so much wisdom, you will feel like you learned so much following Li-yan on her journey, hoping that she will one day find her daughter.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation.]