You are going to fall in love with "Lady Tan's Circle of Women"
Authors Between the Covers: Inspired by a true story of Tan Yunxian, a woman physician in 15th-century China, Lisa See's new novel is a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today. Travel back in time with us today!
Monday Morning Magic from Inkandescent® PR + Publishing Co. — What a thrill to introduce you to New York Times bestselling author Lisa See. I had the privilege of interviewing her for the June issue of the Costco Connection magazine. Lisa was kind enough to allow me to also report her much-anticipated novel on our Authors Between the Covers Show on the Inkandescent Radio Network and Inkandescent.tv.
I cannot more highly recommend this historical novel: Lady Tan’s Circle of Women, which is inspired by a true story of Tan Yunxian, a woman physician in 15th-century China.
About the book: 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 even though 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, pluck instruments, 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, go on to treat women and girls from every level of society, 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? Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women. It is also a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.
About the author: The New York Times bestselling author has penned a dozen books, including The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at number one. Born in Paris and raised by her mother in Los Angeles, Lisa spent a lot of time with her father’s family in Chinatown. “Because of this, I have always been influenced and intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or now in the world today,” shares Lisa, whose stories have garnered honors from the Organization of Chinese American Women—who named her the National Woman of the Year in 2001. She also received the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in 2003; in 2017, she received the Golden Spike Award (which recognizes exceptional accomplishments of Chinese Americans in Southern California) from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California.
Until next Monday: May you surround yourself with a circle of people who support your wildest dreams! — Hope Katz Gibbs, founder and president, Inkandescent® Inc. Inkandescent.us