Patience Is Required For Peace

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It’s funny – Juntu Ahjee’s, The Return of Sister Harris, is a page-turner defeated only by elements dear to most readers. In many places the narrative’s pace is too slow or there is not enough to paint clear pictures, but the spare prose aside, the Seattle-based, award-winning, horror fiction writer and poet, is a keen storyteller. The dialogue grips you and rolls you into the action. Some readers might find the language too explicit or vulgar, but for a Segregation-era, crime drama it is pitch perfect. That makes the sequel to The Legend of Hattie Harris, the first of a planned three-book series, worth a chance.

Hattie Harris is an righteous avenger, but no angel. Gangsters changed the trajectory of her and her son’s lives. After a narrow escape from a brutal showdown with Chicago mobsters, the main character flees with her son back to a small house in Summit County, Ohio to bring bloody justice.

Junior there’s a lot of things in this world that you have yet begun to understand. I’m still learning myself…. I done had a hard life. Don’t mean you gotta have one son…. Sometimes your enemies will not always wear white sheets, they can come in disguises of the same shade. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

Readers who want a firm grip on the realities of being Black in pre-Civil Rights America will find the short novel a prize. The suspenseful action rises as the female anti-hero is hunted from Lake Michigan’s shores to rural Ohio by the Ku Klux Klan, sheriffs, federal agents, and the mob. She faces bigger perils with each chapter in a relentless bid for redemption and rebirth. That leads her to question the motives of her soul. That is why those who stand in her way must pay.

At first, readers who are sticklers for traditional narrative style will find the novel sort of flat. The author vapes the “show don’t tell” rule. Largely, the prose is heavy on summary and sounds like notes for an as yet unwritten novel or screenplay:

Five years later, Hattie (now aged 30) and Sly Jr. (now aged 9) have settled into a small two bedroom house, roughly 20 miles outside from the Cuyahoga River in Summit County… It sets on 2 (sic) and a half acres, very secluded…Hattie enjoyed farming as it brought her back to her roots. She taught her son how to raise cattle and grow produce… Hattie just wants to raise her son in peace and leave all treacherous drama in the past.

A third book, The Judgment of Sister Harris, will be released soon. That saga will also no doubt be a magnet for fans of crime, mystery or Black Culture. I can’t wait to see.

Rated Three Stars – Worth A Look

  • ASIN : B086Z3KQ64
  • Publication date : Feb. 1, 2021
  • Language : English
  • Print length : 64 pages

The Long Line In White

Pope Francis! 

The name echoes in the news. He rode in Fiat 500s during his visit to New York to Philadelphia. He met with actress Eva Longoria, is said to have a lot in common with singer John Legend,  has his own pop album, Wake Up! and has been dubbed the Tech world’s  secret weapon. So much energy and reverence is attached to those two words. Wyatt North Publishing’s three-volume series A History of the Popes helped me understand why.

Most people throughout the world hold the figure of every leader of the Roman Catholic Church in great esteem. This is done so much so, at times, the people forget that a man exists beneath the white cassock and zuchetto that symbolize the office. The Wyatt North history places the man who sits on the throne of Peter today in broad context. The easily readable text is worthy of exploration because those who indulge its depths will learn a lot about the real nature of the popes who have filled the long white line.

“The history of the men who have held this position is fraught with villainous and heroic actions,” the Introduction to the series asserts. Translation – the stories are told in a direct, yet concise manner. The authors did not waste time with sentimental or maudlin details, which is one of the books’ strengths. As the Introduction also promises, the works allow the reader to become acutely aware of how the papacy has “left a profound impact on the development of civilization as we know it, both in the East and the West.”

The book’s treatment of the condemnation of the scholar Origen Adamantius of Alexandria, Egypt, shows that trend in stark detail. The writer, who died in 245 AD is highlighted in story of Pope St. Anastatius I, who reigned from November 399 until he died in 401. The text says Origen “was one of the greatest theologians in the third century,” despite his theories about salvation were once labeled as “unCatholic.” The pope said he taught that “God would save all angels and men.” Modern scholars say that the writer only posed the idea as a speculation.

Even so, the Wyatt North text’s narrative is not as directly dreary as in Brenda Ralph Lewis’ A Dark History: The Popes: Vice, Murder, and Corruption in the Vatican (2011). That said, the pace of the text is less breezy a read than Jesuit Father John W. O’Malley’s A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present (2011).

A History of the Popes offers stories to attract readers who seek a broad range of interests – action, adventure, piety, bravery, sacrifice, political intrigue, and spirituality. It also provides details that might fascinate readers who never paid much attention to the office. For example, I did not realize that most early popes were declared saints upon their deaths. That made Pope Francis’ 2014 decision to canonize of the late popes John Paul II  and John XXIII seem less extraordinary.