Lisa See introduces us to the Akha people of Yunnan province in this story of mothers and daughters. Li-yan grows up in a tea-growing family, in a village whose ways have not changed in thousands of years. When she becomes pregnant out of wedlock, Li-yan, with the help of her mother the village midwife, manages to get her baby to an orphanage to be placed for adoption. Her child, Hailey, grows up in a life of privilege in California. Li-yan leaves the village, educates herself, and manages to carve out a life of accomplishment, but never forgets the daughter she gave up.