Thursday, June 18, 2020

Blog Tour - Tea By The Sea by Donna Hemans

TeabytheSea Cover.jpgTea by the Sea
Winner of the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature

From Brooklyn to the island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces a mother’s circuitous route to finding the daughter taken from her at birth.

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.


What Plum thought in that moment was not how Lenworth and Pauline  would deal with the child’s outburst—dismissal from the table? A stern talking to?—but how Lenworth had wiped away her life. She was no more than the  scribbles on a chalkboard, removed with a single downward swipe leaving only  tiny particles swirling in the air,landing indiscriminately on everything within  reach. Had he looked at her that night in the hospital—still fatigued from labor,  drowsy from medication—and seen a dying woman or a woman struggling to  live? And she had struggled. And she had lived, pushed and pulled and willed  herself to climb from the weakness pulling her under, struggled until she regained  the normal rhythm of breathing, and came out on top. She had lived to hold the  baby she wanted to call Marissa, had lived to look up at him and smile,  triumphant. 

Her smile hadn’t mattered. 

He declared her dead and walked away with her child.

Advance Praise

"Tea by the Sea is a well-written novel exploring the themes of agency, love, and loss. The reverberations of Lenworth’s decision will be fodder for a great book-group discussion."—Booklist

"Tea By the Sea is a powder keg of a novel, where secrets and lies explode into truth and consequences, all told with spellbinding, shattering power. Hemans doesn't just fulfill the promise of her debut—she soars past it."—Marlon James, Man Booker Prize Winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

"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

“Tea by the Sea is an insightful and illuminating prism of a novel, deftly examining familial identity and personal transformation. Hemans turns the kaleidoscope, catching light at different angles, to show us how one person’s act of honor and responsibility can also be an act of unspeakable betrayal.” —Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel and Harmony

Purchase Links:
 Red Hen Press, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon

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 Vol. 1 Brooklyn, 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 Maryland, and is also the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers based in Washington, D.C.



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