Simply Held August Author: Lisa See

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction and fiction? You should join Simply Held. Choose any author, celebrity pick, nonfiction and/or fiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means a new highlighted author from Simply Held. August’s author is Lisa See for fiction.


Our August fiction author is Lisa See. She is a New York Times bestselling author for her books showcasing strong bonds between women. Her books are heavily researched and tell beautifully written stories about Chinese cultures and characters. In addition to her historical fiction stand-alone novels and two series, she has written two nonfiction books, one being On Gold Mountain, the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. She was named the National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001. She was also the recipient of the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum in 2003 and the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California in 2017. She sits on multiple foundation boards and is very active in the Los Angeles art and museum scene.

Lisa’s books focus on stories that have been deliberately covered up, lost, or forgotten across history and in the present. She travels to explore the places she is writing about, while also pulling from her past and her family’s past. Lisa writes literary fiction, mystery, romance, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Her latest book is Lady Tan’s Circle of Women. This book was published in June 2023.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian—born into an elite family, yet haunted by death, separations, and loneliness—is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching, and asking—something a man can never do with a female patient.

From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses, many of which relate to childbearing, alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose—despite the prohibition that a doctor should never touch blood while a midwife comes in frequent contact with it—and they vow to be forever friends, sharing in each other’s joys and struggles. No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom.

But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife—embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.

How might a woman like Yunxian break free of these traditions, go on to treat women and girls from every level of society, and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? How might the power of friendship support or complicate these efforts? Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women. It is also a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.

This title is also available as a Libby eBook, Playaway audiobook, large print, and CD audiobook.