Author: Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

#BookReview
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
@Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Island of Sea Women

Author: Lisa See

Published by: Scribner on March 5, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.


Review:

Poignant, absorbing, and impactful!

The Island of Sea Women is a heart-wrenching, pensive tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged by Japanese Colonialism, WWII invasion, American occupation, rebellion, oppression, political upheaval, and economic instability.

The story is set on Jeju Island from the 1930s to present day and is a generational tale of friendship, grief, sorrow, guilt, history, family, culture, courage, loss, hope, sisterhood, as well as the responsibilities, life, and indomitable spirit of the haenyeo.

The prose is vivid and eloquent. The characters are diligent, resilient, brave, and authentic. And the plot is a skillfully crafted read that moves seamlessly from past to present as it unravels all the personalities, struggles, atrocities, dangers, motivations, and complex relationships within it.

The Island of Sea Women is truly a perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully depicted, fascinating, heartbreaking, unforgettable tale that does a remarkable job of highlighting See’s incredible knowledge and passion for a time and place that is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

#BookReview
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks

#BookReview The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooksTitle: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Author: Lisa See

Published by: Scribner on March 21, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Scribner, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change. Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.


Review:

Atmospheric, evocative, and remarkably researched!

This story is predominantly set in a mountainous village in rural China where the Akha subsist off the tea tree leaves that grace the landscape and are governed by the ancient superstitions, traditions and spirituality passed down from generation to generation.

The prose is descriptive and precise. The characters are genuine, strong, intelligent and hardworking. And the story has two distinct plots; one involving the coming-of-age, independence, perseverance and success of Li-Yan as she bravely follows her aspirations beyond the confines of her home; and the other which details the struggles and difficulties faced by her daughter, Haley, being raised by adoptive parents of a different race, culture and country than that of her ancestry. 

I would have to say that although I found the history of tea production and insight into the ethnic minorities of China incredibly fascinating and enjoyable in this novel the ending felt just a little bit rushed. I would definitely have appreciated and welcomed a few more pages dedicated to the climactic mother-daughter reunion at the end.

However, overall this book is well written, engrossing and well worth the read.

 

This book is due to be published on March 21, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryB&NKobo

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Scribner, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

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