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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The first thing that caught my attention in Enduring Times by Betty Godfrey is the opening that reminded me of my village and the sound of crowing in the morning. For five years, Jennifer has been married to Bill, against the wishes of her domineering mother, and she’s always felt like the luckiest woman. But the idyllic and happy life she’s created with her loving husband and three kids is shattered when her son dies. Bill disappears for weeks and when he comes back, he is changed. He has joined a new church and has become so religious and wants Jennifer and the children to follow him. He won’t accept her excuses and she only follows because Bill insists on bringing the children to his Faith Healing Church. The crisis escalates when Bill is sent by the church to Columbia as a missionary. The family goes through all forms of hardship and a new pregnancy ushers them into another phase of suffering. How much can Jennifer take or is she destined to suffer the curse from her mother: “You’ll regret the day you married that man.”
This is a novel with very strong characters and I enjoyed the way the author explores the theme of religious fanaticism, epitomized by Bill, a man who abandons his job at the bank, and allows his family to undergo all kinds of suffering in the name of religion. This novel is a powerful satire against religion that doesn’t promote humanity. Betty Godfrey is a great storyteller and I enjoyed her gift for plot and character. The way she writes motivation into her characters is ingenious. Enduring Times features beautiful prose, filled with wonderful descriptions and characters that are deeply human, genuinely flawed, and believable. Themes of love, family, religion, and one woman’s struggle to hold things together drive this narrative.