cover image The House of Plain Truth

The House of Plain Truth

Donna Hemans. Zibby, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 979-8-9862418-1-4

A 60-something woman returns home to Jamaica to visit her dying father in this affecting family saga from Hemans (Tea by the Sea). In Brooklyn, where Pearline has lived for decades, people regularly ask her where she’s from and why she doesn’t want to live there. Upon arriving in Jamaica, she’s taunted by her sisters Hermina and Aileen for having spent too much time away (Aileen derisively calls her “Miss America”). Shortly before Pearline’s father, Rupert, dies, he asks her to “find them for me.” She believes his dying wish refers to the sisters’ older siblings in Cuba, whom Pearline knew as a child when Rupert temporarily moved the family there so he could work on a sugar plantation. Pearline examines her father’s documents and attempts to piece together the story of his life and track down the Cuban siblings. Meanwhile, Hermina and Aileen wish she would drop the search, as they plan to sell the house and don’t want any complications involving the estate. Though there are no big surprises when the family’s secrets are unveiled, Hemans ably depicts Pearline’s longing for acceptance and closure. This is worth a look. (Jan.)