Fiction Books for Tea Lovers
Books and Magazines

Fiction Books for Tea Lovers

In addition to being a tea nerd, I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm. There isn’t a lot of fiction books for tea lovers but I love when those two worlds intersect. These are some of my favorites that I’ve written about on the blog over the years.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

This book follows the life a young girl named Li-Yan. She is a member of Akha ethnic minority living on Nannuo Mountain. There are nuggets that will make any puerh lover happy throughout the storyline. Everything from the tea market crash of 2007 and the modernization of Yunnan are occurrences in her life. Even our beloved World Tea Expo gets a mention along with familiar names like Dr. Selena Ahmed.

For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose

I think we've all heard the story of Robert Fortune's agricultural espionage. Sarah Rose studied his journals and turned them into a engaging work of historical fiction. There is something for everyone here, even if they aren’t specifically interested in tea. Who doesn’t love a but of espionage and adventure?

Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel

In her debut novel Shona Patel tells the story of Layla Roy, a young girl living in Assam during India’s struggle for independence. While it isn’t directly related to tea, a good portion of the plot takes place on a fictional tea plantation. The details are very historically accurate, particularly the relationships between plantation staff and the work force.

The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery

tells the story of an orphaned American girl who is taken in by the daughter of an important tea master. The story is very compelling, especially if you have a passion for tea. How often do you see Rikyu discussed in a fictional novel? My one quam was that there are few adult scenes that seemed a bit out of place from the rest of the story. Nevertheless, it was a great read and I would definitely recommend if have an interest in tea and Japanese culture.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

Memory of Water is a dystopian tale that focuses on a young girl who is studying to become a tea master. Elements are definitely drawn from Chanoyu but the author doesn’t make many specific cultural references. In this future world, water has become a precious resource that is carefully protected by tea masters. I found myself realizing that I take for granted the fact that I can fill up my kettle from the faucet without a second thought.

Steeped In Evil by Laura Childs

I'm not much of a murder mystery reader but when I was asked to review this tea infused novel, I just couldn’t resist. I am so glad that I did because it turned out to be a real page turner. The main character, Theodesia Browning, is a redheaded tea shop owner with a penchant for getting tangled up in murder investigations. I was worried that I might be a little lost having never read other books from this series but that was not an issue at all. The author’s style is wonderfully colorful and descriptive.

Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs

In this volume Theodesia and the rest of the Indigo Tea Shop gang investigate a murder that involved an antique tea house. Just as with Steeped in Evil, I loved all of the tea references woven throughout the story.This is only the second book in this series that I’ve read but I feel a bit attached to the characters. I love Theodesia’s independent streak and Drayton’s good-natured haughtiness. There were so many twists and turns that I was left guessing right up until the very end.

This post was originally published in 2014 so I thought it was time for a much needed update. Are there any fiction books for tea lovers that I missed? Let me know about it in the comments below!

Nicole has been writing about her love of the leaf since 2008. Her work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. She is the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.