by Zelda Lockhart
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Pub Date 04 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 29 Aug 2023
The Hurston-Wright Award Finalist makes her long-awaited return with this electrifying saga—as moving and indelible as The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, The Turner House, and The Love Songs of W. E. B. DuBois—that explores three generations of a family trying to overcome trials and trauma and free themselves from the darkness of the past.
Lottie Rebecca Lee is spoken into the world in Fayetteville, North Carolina by a Black nurse who declares, “Lord Jesus, if that ain’t the blackest little baby born this side of heaven.” Later, Lottie will prove that she is the ancestors’ promise to unearth the Mississippi and Ghanaian atrocities that have tormented Benjamin Lee, her grandfather who was born during the Great Depression in Mississippi’s red clay tobacco fields, and Benjamin Junior, his son and Lottie Rebecca’s father, born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where the post Korean War GI Bill promises prosperity. These two generations of men are haunted by the Mother-Spirit who did not survive enslavement’s post-traumatic stress violence. Trinity is the riveting story of the daughter-spirit born to stitch love back into the scattered wombs of her Black mothers and call love back into the fishing blues songs of her Black male kin. Lottie Rebecca Lee is the Divine spirited daughter born to set everything back up right again, in this daringly original novel.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are commonly referred to as the The Holy Trinity in Christianity and Zelda Lockhart explores this concept of transcendent interconnectedness in her latest novel – only here, the “holy” can be dropped and the Spirit manifests as a spunky representation of a diligent mother determined to guide her wayward earth-bound children to healing and redemption.
The opening passages of the novel harken to three major remembrances of past sins and memories of betrayal – (1) by Ghanian male ancestors who willfully forfeit the protection, provision, and nurturing of their womenfolk to reap the riches of selling their own for material gain and profit in the slave trade; (2) a disapproving stance on their compromise to fight white men’s enemies to retore their honor; and (3) their indefensible abandonment of the black family. Fast forward to 1939, Sampson, MS, where generations of forced servitude and brutality have hardened a mean, bitter Leander Lee to the point that his drunkenness and heavy-handedness causes his child-wife (Lottie, fifty years his junior) and two sons (James and Benjamin/Bennie) to abandon him along with his youngest son to their lonesome on a sharecropper’s farm. Lottie’s sudden and mysterious disappearance and Bennie’s rash Army enlistment and service in the Korean War set in motion a series of events that truly yield lifelong torment and hauntings for both Bennie ( the father) and Bennie Jr (the son) who battles a different type of trauma post the Vietnam War.
The not-so-patriotic bits of American history are weaved into this fictional tale as each man grapples with Jim Crow laws that carry racially discriminating loopholes leading to severe disenfranchisement, loss of livelihood, homelessness and the overall broken promises of the American Dream. We also witness the women who love them consumed as collateral damage until otherworldly forces intervene. This book is packed with so many relevant themes that will spawn deep discussions among book clubs.
I loved the story and recommend it for those who don’t mind some dark, violent moments and a touch of speculative fiction/magical realism in their Southern tales that explore the stories of the African Diaspora and the call from the Motherland for closure.
Thanks to Amistad and NetGalley for the opportunity to read in advance for an honest review.