Donna Hemans, "Tea by the Sea" (Red Hen Press, 2020)


A new father walks out of the hospital with his day-old baby while the mother recuperates from giving birth. He tells a series of lies and moves houses or countries whenever the truth gets too close. The young, broken-hearted mother devotes herself to searching for her missing daughter. Alternating between Jamaica and Brooklyn, NY, she is disappointed again and again, until seventeen years go by and she happens to see the photo of the man who took her baby. Now he is a priest. In beautiful, wrenching prose, Hemans' Tea by the Sea (Red Hen Press) tells an unforgettably moving story of family love, identity, and betrayal. Jamaican-born Donna Hemans is the author of the novels River Woman, winner of the 2003–4 Towson University Prize for Literature, and Tea by the Sea, for which she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in the The Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Greenbelt, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she plays tennis and runs the DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers. If you enjoyed today’s podcast and would like to discuss it further with me and other New Books network listeners, please join us on Shuffle. Shuffle is an ad-free, invite-only network focused on the creativity community. As NBN listeners, you can get special access to conversations with a dynamic community of writers and literary enthusiasts. Sign up by going to
G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website ( if you wish to recommend an author (of a beautifully-written new novel) to interview, to listen to her previous podcast interviews, to read her mystery book reviews, or to check out some of her awesome recipes.

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G. P. Gottlieb

G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (

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