Bestselling author Lisa See to discuss her new novel at ‘Luncheon and Talk’ event


Bestselling author Lisa See takes the stage at The Crosby Club on Thursday, June 8, to discuss her new historical novel, “Lady Tan’s Circle of Women.” The book debuts on June 6 and has received glowing advance reviews, including by The New York Times, which wrote, “Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.”

Author Lisa See
(Photo by Patricia Williams)

It’s the fictionalized story of a real Chinese woman, Tan Yunxian, who lived 500 years ago, and published a book about her work as a physician. See is known for her rich and fertile depictions of Chinese characters and for illuminating the lives of women. She said with this book she hopes readers can see the connections between her protagonist and their own lives.

“She was a daughter, wife, and mother. She was what today we would call a professional woman—a doctor—who struggled with work/life balance,” See said.

“While the day-to-day circumstances of her life were completely different from ours, what was happening in the world around her was eerily similar to things that are happening around us today. Culture and distance may seem at first glance to separate us, but at our cores we are women who have the same needs, wants, and desires as women have since the beginning of humankind,” See said.

Cover of “Lady Tan’s Circle of Women”
Cover of “Lady Tan’s Circle of Women”
(Courtesy of Lisa See)

See’s previous novels include 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. She also wrote On Gold Mountain, which is the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles, where she still lives today. She is the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California, and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

See said author appearances, like the one in Rancho Santa Fe, are a special and meaningful chance to interact with readers. “I spend a lot of time alone in a room when I’m writing…. When I do an event, people share with me what they like about the book, which is great! But it’s more than that. Someone might talk about how a character reminded her of her mother who recently passed away or about how the ups and downs in the friendship in the novel are similar to things she’s experienced with her closest friend. People remind me not only why I write but they encourage me to keep writing deeper to get to the truth of emotions and relationships.”

The June 8 event is a fundraiser for the Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe in support of the Rancho Santa Fe Library, and is sponsored by the guild and Warwick’s. Tickets are available online for $150, which includes lunch, a Q&A with the author, and a signed copy of the novel. Check in at The Crosby Club starts at 11:30 a.m. Purchase tickets at