Novels that spotlight strength, triumph and the importance of family

BY Claire Yezbak Fadden 

Long after the last page has been turned, there are stories that stay with us and linger in our minds. These are the stories that take us deep into the heartbreak, challenge and triumph of their characters. Their authors invite us into the lives of memorable men and women and take us along for the ride while their characters overcome life’s adversities. Three new releases will introduce you to a few of these unforgettable characters.


In The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Scribner, March 21, 2017), Lisa See explores the bonds between a Chinese woman from the Akha ethnic minority and the daughter she gives up for adoption. Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea in their remote Yunnan village. There is ritual and routine, as there has been for generations. When Li-yan has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition and kill her daughter (which Akha custom deems “a human reject”), she wraps the baby girl in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and takes a perilous journey to the nearest city, where, devastated, she abandons the infant in the hopes that someone else can care for her.

Li-yan slowly emerges from her grief and begins to look beyond the security and insularity of her village. As she encounters modern life, her daughter 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. Meet the author on Wednesday, April 19.


Anything Is Possible (Random House, April 25, 2017) explores human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. In this new work of fiction by Elizabeth Strout, a cast of small-town folk cope with love and loss, their stories reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation. We meet two sisters: one who trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The school janitor has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help. A grown daughter, longing for her mother’s love, comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country. Also, the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton) returns to visit her siblings after 17 years of absence. Meet the author on Friday, May 12.



In The Book of Summer (St. Martin’s Press, May 9, 2017), novelist Michelle Gable uses the faded pages of the Cliff House guest book to transport readers back in time and introduce them to the spellbinding stories of its female inhabitants. Among them is physician Bess Codman, who, for the first time in four years, visits the Nantucket compound her great-grandparents built almost a century before. Due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Bess must put aside her complicated memories and pack up the house while dealing with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. It’s not just memories of her family home Bess must face though, but also an old love that might hold new possibilities. Ruby, Bess’s grandmother and primary keeper of the guest book, claimed Cliff House was a house of women. By the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother’s words in ways she never imagined. Meet the author on Tuesday, May 9.


[ For upcoming “Meet the Author” events scheduled throughout the spring, visit warwicks.com or stop by Warwick’s, 7812 Girard Avenue in La Jolla ]