My audio books have been LONG this month and by long I mean many, many hours of listening. The other similarity between my September Audio books is that they have been historical fiction. I enjoy listening to historical fiction because they are often the books I want to read but find I lack the patience for the descriptions and backstories when I am reading but in an audio book they just flow better.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See is a novel set in rural China that is equal parts fascinating and disturbing. The life and beliefs that guide the Aka people seem so ancient and yet it was the 1980s. Even when the world comes to the villages some of the beliefs and rituals remain. A story of the old world trying to find a way in the new as wealth and the world invades and it all comes through tea. Li-yan is growing up in traditional style in a tea growing village when her path begins to divert. Her mother is the Midwife and she is expected to follow in her footsteps but Li-yan wonders if that is her path. When she is given the unprecedented opportunity to continue her education she jumps at the chance but the path is full of bumps and detours. This is also the story of Haley, a California girl adopted from China as she struggles to fit in to life in the United States. Underneath it is a story of family, love, and finding your way in a new world. Listening on audio meant I didn’t struggle over the foreign words and the story flowed. I also found the information about tea fascinating!
Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory is the continuation of the Plantagenet and Tudor novels. In this it is the story of Katherine of Aragon and King Henry the VIII’s sisters, Margaret and Mary. The women are bond together by the crown and blood and marriage and power but there is also a rivalry and competition. Listening to it is a joy as I am transported to the royal courts but it leave me with the feeling that Margaret is a competitive, silly little brat! As always it is a pleasure to read (or listen) to a book by Philippa Gregory.