Meet Lisa See! Author of Lady Tan’s Circle of Women

San Mateo County Libraries welcomes Lisa See on Tuesday, July 11, at 6:30 PM for a virtual author talk and Q&A. Lisa will tell us all about her newest book, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women before answering your questions!

Did someone say free? Not yet, but I’m about to! We're giving away free copies of Lady Tan’s Circle of Women, so stop by your local SMCL library to check for copies! Giveaway copies are limited to one copy per patron while supplies last, first-come first-serve.

Once you've registered, you'll receive your Zoom invitation.

The Real Lady Tan, Reimagined

Lady Tan's Circle of Women is a triumphant reimagining of one woman physician's real life in 15th-century China.

Born into an elite family haunted by death, separations and loneliness, protagonist Tan Yunxian was raised by her grandmother, one of only a handful of female doctors in China. Yunxian’s grandmother taught her the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching and asking. Determined to practice the Four Examinations for female patients in ways male doctors can’t, Yunxian works alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. They find fast friendship and a mutual purpose, vowing to be forever friends.

However, Yunxian’s vocation seems out of reach when she is forced into an arranged marriage and expected to act like a proper wife—embroidering bound-foot slippers, birthing sons and staying forever within the walls of the family compound.

In Lisa See’s sweeping novel, Yunxian will break free of these traditions, going on to treat women and girls from every level of society, developing remedies still used today. Join us to learn more about her incredible true story.

Get to Know Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, Shanghai Girls, China Dolls and Dreams of Joy. Her authentic, deeply researched novels illuminate the strong bonds between women, especially those whose stories have been left behind or covered up.

She’s also the author of On Gold Mountain, the story of her Chinese American’s family in Los Angeles and their impact on Chinatown’s history. Lisa has received 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 Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

Praise for Lady Tan’s Circle of Women

“Lisa See has done it again!…Get drawn into the smells, textures, colors and intrigue of the inner chamber…I found this a beautiful story of what women are capable of, no matter the environment around them.” —Sara Rottunda, Valley Bookseller

"Engrossing … rich … packed with historical detail … Women’s friendships in a world where they have little freedom shape a quietly moving book."—Kirkus Reviews

“Once again, Lisa See educates as she entertains by immersing readers into a little-known world, this time the Ming dynasty of five centuries ago ... With her characteristically extensive research and brilliant storytelling, Lisa See draws us into an ancient world that still resonates today. Highly recommended!” —Shirley Wells, Watermark Books

“Lisa See’s spellbinding historical novel, inspired by Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor by the real-life Tan Yunxian, vividly depicts 15th-century China with artfully woven details, rich characters and descriptive language. … Through her strong-willed characters, See also emphasizes how women can act as the anchors of society ... an emotional and illuminating epic.” —Bookpage (starred review)