I just finished The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. Unfortunately, it failed to meet my expectations. After my disappointment in China Dolls and my awareness of the popularity of See’s latest novel, I was all ready for a positive reading experience.
This historical fiction story about a young Chinese woman from a backward, remote mountain village in China who has a child out of wedlock left me feeling overloaded with too much information. Told in the first-person, the novel chronicles the history of China, the tea industry, the life of the child abandoned by the main character, real estate purchases by Chinese citizens in America, recycling, and way too much more. The deluge of information distracted me from the heart of the story which I took to be a woman who spends her life looking for the child she abandoned in a box on the side of a road in China.
I do not scoff at the success of this novel, but question what made it so? I will always love the first novel I read by Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I wish I felt the same way about the last two I have recently read.