Get to know Donna Hemans

Donna Hemans is the author of the novels River Woman and Tea by the Sea. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Slice, Shenandoah, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine and Crab Orchard Review. She received her undergraduate degree in English and Media Studies from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Maryland and is the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers.



Fun fact

I’d like to climb to the highest peak of every Caribbean island

Favorite author

I have favorite books rather than a favorite author and among my favorites are God of Small Things, Beloved, The Shadow King

Favorite place in the world

any Caribbean beach

Favorite place to read

the front verandah of my childhood home

Books by Donna Hemans

The House Of Plain Truth

Published 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.

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The House Of Plain Truth