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 history -- Japan as it opens its doors to the West. It was a period when Japan's most mysterious rite, the tea ceremony, became not just a sacramental meal, but a ritual battlefield.
Aurelia, an American orphan, is 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 novel of epic scope and compulsive readability.