A sweeping debut novel drawn from a history shrouded in secrets about two women--one American, one Japanese--whose fates become entwined in the rapidly changing world of late-nineteenth-century Japan.
When nine-year-old Aurelia Bernard takes shelter in Kyoto's beautiful and mysterious Baishian teahouse after a fire one night in 1866, she is unaware of the building's purpose. She has just fled the only family she's ever known: after her French immigrant mother died of cholera in New York, her abusive missionary uncle brought her along on his assignment to Christianize Japan. She finds in Baishian a place that will open up entirely new worlds to her--and bring her a new family.
An utterly absorbing story told in an enchanting and unforgettable voice, The Teahouse Fire is a lively, provocative, and lushly detailed historical novel of epic scope and compulsive readability.
Chapter one is available on the author's website.
And, for more on Avery and her novel, visit Powells.com to read an original essay, "Tea and the Writing of The Teahouse Fire."
Avery will be coming to Buffalo this month. Giving a reading at Buff State's Rooftop Poetry Club on the 9th and another (which will be accompanied by a tea ceremony demonstration) at tru-teas on the 10th.