From a small mountain village in China, where the minorities live, Li-yan and her family collect tea leaves. The members of their little enclave live and love by the old and often strict traditions of the Akha people as they have for many generations. The Akha follow their spiritual leaders and manage to scrape by with little money and barely enough food. Li-yan’s mother is the medicine woman and mid-wife of their village and most often backbone of their community. When they are not collecting tea leaves Li-yan is one of the lucky few children to attend a small school hut where Teacher Zhang instills a love of learning and ultimately changes her future. One day a jeep mysteriously arrives and Mr. Huang – a successful businessman in search of the highest quality tea - can only be assisted by Li-yan as she now is the sole villager to speak Mandarin. And so begins her journey into adulthood, the difficult choices that are made and sometimes opportunities also missed. The intense mother love travels between mountain top villages and stretches across vast oceans all the way to California. Once again, magnificent author Lisa See takes us on a journey to another world where the reader can see the leaves being plucked one by one and practically smell the blossoms on the trees. Her steadfast attention to detail brings the characters alive and you will be thinking of Li-yan and her family long after the story ends. I am in awe of the way Ms. See manages to bring full circle the outcome and life lessons so smoothly that I find myself slowing my reading to digest every beautiful sentence. I highly recommend this breathtaking novel which will surely capture your imagination and your heart. And quite possibly have you booking a trip to China (as I hope to) in the near future.