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The Agony of the Leaves
(book club with literary crossover)
A novel telling the story of tea through the people it touches—from its mythic origins in ancient China to a contemporary queer teahouse.
On an Indian tea plantation, a memsahib and her lady’s maid clash when a deadly epidemic and a life-threatening secret upend their lives. A conscientious governor’s career is destroyed by the Boston Tea Party. A failing merchant’s son attempts to save his family in the days before the Opium War. A thief shanghai’ed onto a tea-carrying clipper ship plies his trade while struggling to survive at sea. A Japanese tea ceremony exposes the hidden fault lines in a samurai family. And, in 1990s Taipei, a queer, revolutionary teahouse is thrown into disarray when one of the owners falls in love with an outsider.
As tea transforms from sacred beverage to coveted commodity, these characters are caught in its historical wake. They are linked across time and space–by tea, by ties of blood and trade and religion, and through recurring themes: The upheaval of cross-cultural contact. Commodification and its pressures. Life-changing choices in the face of forces beyond their control.
The Spirit Keepers
(middle grade fantasy novel)
Two twelve-year-old Taiwanese Americans are under attack by ghosts–and one of ghosts is their own great-grandfather! They discover they belong to a family lineage of Keepers, charged with witnessing and preserving the essence of the Taiwanese people–and their great-grandfather, once a Keeper himself, became a hungry ghost due to decades of trauma under martial law.
Soon they are journeying across the US to uncover their great-grandfather’s story and heal him. But will they be able to save their great-grandfather’s spirit–and take their place as Keepers of Taiwan’s essence–before being killed by ghosts themselves?
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