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About the Author
Rose Mary Stiffin, PhD Biographical Sketch I was raised and educated in Indianola, Mississippi, notably the Delta hometown of the blues legend, BB King. I received my Bachelor of Art degree in Chemistry from Mississippi Valley State University (1974), my Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry from Mississippi State University (1981), and my PhD (Biochemistry) from the University of Tennessee in Memphis (1995). I did my post-doctoral work at the world-famous hospital, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee. Currently, I am the Chair of the Division of Health and Natural Sciences at Florida Memorial University, a small HBCU located in Miami Gardens. I have written several short stories and had some of them published in the Imagine literary magazine. I have also been published in the Algonquin Quarterly (“The Water Buffalo and Pink Flamingo”) and in an anthology For Your Eyes Only (“Casino Blues”). Walk in Bethel is my first novel. I am working on my second novel, Reflections.
This novel chronicles three generations of a black family in the south. The secret between Mike Poe and Nashville Thompson initiate a sub theme on how skin color impacts relationships within the black culture. The author makes a tease on this secret in several points in the plot. The stories span from Reconstruction after the Civil War to present day. What I liked about the stories is that while we may understand historical events such as racism, world wars, Jim Crow and Civil rights from a global perspective, Dr. Stiffin weaves wonderful tales on how an individual family responds to these events. The authenticity in the dialogue between the characters, the settings and how the plot unfolds, leads me to consider that this fiction was meant to memorize a family that may have existed. Were it not for the author, we would have lost the richness of understanding this family's experiences. It is a rather long novel, and to fully experience it, I would recommend a quiet place for reflection on your own responses to the experiences highlighted in this book. A wonderful novel you will love it.
This was a book that was recommended for our book club that i read in about 4 days. it was a well written book whose main characters were well developed at the appropriate times. As the story moves into modern day, the reader will feel like they have enough background to understand the behaviors of the main characters. It was entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.
Beginning in the late 1800s the story follows the lives of decendants of slaves and covers several generations and more characters than I could remember. I probably could have used a family tree. You would never imagine that a PhD in chemistry would have such an imagination and the writing talent to tell the story. This book would make an excellent movie. It has good character development, action and a few "steamy" scenes.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Stiffin at a local Book Festival in Frederick, Maryland. Her novel, Walk in Bethel, provides a comprehensive chronicle of one family over the course of ninety years. She describes how murder, lust, marriage, divorce, and death affect the family many times over. The family's interactions with others, of their race and different races, as well as straight and homosexual couples, show how when humanity comes together, great things happen. Children not only enter the world, but families are created out of love for others as human brothers and sisters. By having characters of multiple races and orientations as time progresses, the novel shows how people learn to see beyond their differences and unite against injustice in the world. It is well written, thoughtful, and thought provoking all at once.
Walk in Bethel is a beautifully-written, multicultural saga about a family throughout several generations. Their southern environment and culture is perfectly described. The vernacular is as compelling as the plot is fascinating. There is a generous sprinkling of spice, as well as intrigue, warmth, and unflinching realism. My mother and I equally enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. It would make a perfect book club candidate as well as a fine film.