#147;Like attending seasons of elegant tea parties#151;each one resplendent with character and drama. Delicious."#151;Maxine Hong Kingston The story of two women whose lives intersect in late-nineteenth-century Japan, The Teahouse Fire is also a portrait of one of the most fascinating places and times in all of history#151;Japan as it opens its doors to the West. It was a period when wearing a different color kimono could make a political statement, when women stopped blackening their teeth to profess an allegiance to Western ideas, and when Japan's most mysterious rite#151;the tea ceremony#151;became not just a sacramental meal, but a ritual battlefield. We see it all through the eyes of Aurelia, an American orphan adopted by the Shin family, proprietors of a tea ceremony school, after their daughter, Yukako, finds her hiding on their grounds. Aurelia becomes Yukako's closest companion, and they, the Shin family, and all of Japan face a time of great challenges and uncertainty. 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.
Fleeing her uncle and a raging fire, Aurelia shelters in a teahouse that presents her a new way of life.