Lady Tan's Circle of Women: A Novel (Paperback)

Lady Tan's Circle of Women: A Novel By Lisa See Cover Image
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Description


*NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!*

From “one of those special writers capable of delivering both poetry and plot” (The New York Times Book Review) an immersive historical novel inspired by the true story of a woman physician in 15th-century China—perfect for fans of Lisa See’s classics Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.

According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian—born into an elite family, yet haunted by death, separations, and loneliness—is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching, and asking—something a man can never do with a female patient.

From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses, many of which relate to childbearing, alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose—despite the prohibition that a doctor should never touch blood while a midwife comes in frequent contact with it—and they vow to be forever friends, sharing in each other’s joys and struggles. No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom.

But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife—embroider bound-foot slippers, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.

How might a woman like Yunxian break free of these traditions and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? How might the power of friendship support or complicate these efforts? A captivating story of women helping each other, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a triumphant reimagining of the life of one person who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.

About the Author


Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea WomenThe 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 Historymaker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

Praise For…


"Celebrated for novels that pull readers deep into Chinese history and culture, Lisa See imagines the life story of Tan Yunxian, a 15th-century physician who devoted her life to caring for women... Despite the inordinate limits placed on women, See allows their strengths to dominate their stories, even though not all women were graced with lives of fulfillment."
Washington Post

"Lady Tan’s Circle of Women has everything you could want in a dramatic tale of female friendship."
Katie Couric Media

"Based on the writings of an historical Ming dynasty female physician, See’s accomplished novel immerses readers in a fascinating life lived within a fascinating culture."
Starred Booklist

"Engrossing…rich…packed with historical detail…Women’s friendships in a world where they have little freedom shape a quietly moving book."
Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9781982117092
ISBN-10: 1982117095
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English