Sin Begets 'Walk in Bethel'; Love Redeems It

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - Aug 20, 2012) -  If ever there was a contemporary writer with the credentials to write about a family drama in the Mississippi Delta, it's Rose Mary Stiffin, author of "Walk in Bethel" (

Her book is a return to the Southern Gothic tradition -- one she understands, having been raised in Indianola, Miss., where she picked cotton as a child. Set in this sweltering part of the country, the story begins in the early 1890s and follows three families, two of which descended from slaves, through nearly a century. Stiffin writes in the vernacular, describing the darkest passages of the human heart and its well-lit corridors of freedom, forgiveness and love of family.

The story is set into motion when Nashville Thompson, a preacher's wife, on her way home from a sickbed visit, is set upon and nearly raped by two white brothers. The man who fends off the rapists then leads her on a terror-filled trek home as the two seek to avoid the enraged brothers. In the chaos that ensues, a sin is committed that will shape the generations to come.

Add to the plot -- and the next generation -- a man harboring a violent secret who marries into the Thompson family and the stage is set for decades of struggle and triumph, sorrow and devastation.

"'Walk in Bethel' is a beautifully written, multicultural saga," writes reviewer Deborah C. Pollack. "There is a generous sprinkling of spice, as well as intrigue, warmth, and unflinching realism... It would make a perfect book club candidate as well as a fine film."

Dr. Debra Perkins writes that the novel's roots are evident from the outset.

"The book sizzles with sexual tension as the veneer of civilization is worn thin," she writes. "There is murder, rape, lynching and depravity of the 'natural superior.' These characters surprise -- and live."

About Rose Mary Stiffin, PhD

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Rose Mary Stiffin's life is an example of Americana and the American Dream. She went from picking cotton as a child to earning several degrees, including a bachelor's in chemistry from Mississippi Valley State University, a master's in organic chemistry from Mississippi State University, and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. She is the chair of the Division of Health and Natural Sciences at Florida Memorial University.

Contact Information:

Ginny Grimsley