The House Of Plain Truth
January 30, 2024
"Hemans’ thoughtful family tale is a balm for readers." —Kirkus Reviews
A lyrical, lush, evocative story about a fractured Jamaican family and a daughter determined to reclaim her home.
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With news of her father’s passing, Pearline abruptly leaves her daughter and grandchildren behind in Brooklyn to return to her childhood home in Jamaica. But Pearline isn’t prepared for her father’s puzzling deathbed wish that she find her siblings—whom she hasn’t seen in 60 years—and discover the secret that tore her family apart.
Moving through time and place, from Cuba to Montego Bay and from Brooklyn to Havana, The House of Plain Truth traces Pearline’s reconciliation of what she thought she knew about her family and the truth of their origin.
Inspired by the author's own family story, this delicate, incisive novel explores the divided loyalties within a family, the true meaning of home, and what one woman must sacrifice to finally get what she wants.
The novel’s sedate pacing, which evokes rocking-chair musings on mortality and responsibility, brings a welcome reprieve from stories laden with plot twists and action for the sake of it. Hemans’ thoughtful family tale is a balm for readers.
A captivating tale about the legacy of colonialism and the rippling effects of grief.
This is worth a look.
If you’ve enjoyed Donna Hemens’s previous novels, you’ll be similarly excited for her latest book, which exudes the reflective and intimate style I’ve come to appreciate in her work.
A gripping story about family secrets and sacrifice.
There are some novels so moving they demand a place in your memory and heart long after you have read them and you may become an evangelist pressing copies on friends. This is one such book.
What people are saying...
“Emotionally honest, The House of Plain Truth is ripe with secrets and sacrifice. Teeming with family drama, and lush descriptions that leapt off the page and rooted me in place. Hemans’ writing is lyrical and her characters stayed with me long after the book was over.”
“In this book, set primarily in her native Jamaica, Donna Hemans reminds us what a debt the world owes Caribbean people— those who migrate, as well as those who remain to buttress the families left behind. Ours is a story of faith, risk, estrangement, and ultimately, longing, which Hemans evokes through characters who are unforgettable precisely because we seem to be remembering them. Hemans’ great triumph is how her prose witnesses history with dignified tenderness and with a clarity which never gets in the reader’s way or prescribes what we should feel about the plain truth.”
“Shifting ideas of home, family, and culture collide in this evocative tale of memory and reconciliation. The House of Plain Truth meanders through the Jamaican countryside and one family’s troubles in a way that feels unique yet universal in its exploration of migration, broken promises, and forgiveness.”
“The House of Plain Truth is a rich and layered novel. It's not only a compelling family mystery and a moving story of generational healing and reconciliation, but also a profound portrait of the emotional aftermath of voluntary and forced migration. An extraordinary achievement.”
“In prose that pulses with the tempo, climate, and luxuriant beauty of Jamaica, Donna Hemans chronicles the tragic consequences of intergenerational migration and estrangement, colonial brutality, and the chaos of revolution on one Jamaican family. The House of Plain Truth is a heart-wrenching novel of loss and grief with profound resonance in today’s migratory world.”
"Donna Hemans tends to her words with the patience of a gardener deep in roses. The quality of Ms. Hemans’ pacing is so telling—tenacious and epic—that the reader will remain transfixed from the very first to the very lovely end."