With a through line about pu’er—a variety of tea plucked from ancient tea trees, Li-yan is the first Akha girl from her Chinese hill tribe to be educated. Instead of furthering her studies, she drops everything for her childhood sweetheart whom her parents disapprove of. Together they unsuccessfully seek the child Li-yan was forced to abandoned in an orphanage during his absence before they leave for Thailand. While she is away, her poor village prospers from the sudden popularity of pu’er while Li-yan becomes destitute from her opium addicted husband. She has not forgotten the daughter she was forced to abandoned, but soon her life begins to change.
I’ve read all Lisa See’s books and there isn’t one I wouldn’t give a five out of five.