Author: Donna Hemans
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publish date: June 9th, 2020
Purchase Links: Red Hen Press, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon
A seventeen-year-old taken from her mother at birth, an Episcopal priest with a daughter
whose face he cannot bear to see, a mother weary of searching for her lost child: Tea by the
Sea is their story—that of a family uniting and unraveling. To find the daughter taken
from her, Plum Valentine must find the child’s father who walked out of a hospital with
the day-old baby girl without explanation. Seventeen years later, weary of her unfruitful
search, Plum sees an article in a community newspaper with a photo of the man for
whom she has spent half her life searching. He has become an Episcopal priest. Her plan:
confront him and walk away with the daughter he took from her. From Brooklyn to the
island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces Plum’s circuitous route to finding her daughter and
how Plum’s and the priest’s love came apart.
“The forbidden love story of Plum and Lenworth comes alive in this heart-rending novel,
Tea by the Sea. Hemans has a stunning ability to give words to that elusive feeling of
emptiness, and the longing for redemption is palpable. In Hemans’s deft hands, regrets
are explored with precision and compassion so that the reader finds herself unable to turn
against even characters who have committed the most wretched betrayals. Tea by the Sea is like the story told in a grandmother’s kitchen with the odors of fried dumplings and
saltfish wafting into mouths that are set agape at the heady twists and turns delivered in an
urgent and beautiful prose.”
—Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of ’Til the Well Runs Dry
This book is the perfect way to honor and celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month. Having been there myself several times, It captures the atmosphere of Jamaica perfectly. The writing is beautiful and the connection between mother and child, even when they are separated, is palpable. I will be thinking about this book for quite some time.
About the author:
Jamaican-born Donna Hemans is the author of the novel River Woman, winner of the
2003-4 Towson University Prize for Literature. Tea by the Sea, for which she won the
Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature, is her second novel. Her short
fiction has appeared in the Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, and the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Head over to my Instagram to enter. I love that part of of prize is a special tea blend created by the author just for this tour!
Thank you to Over The River PR and Red Hen Press for the gifted copy in exchange for my promotion and honest review of this book.