Enduring Times

Fiction - Intrigue
360 Pages
Reviewed on 08/03/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I was told this story when I was a little girl, I heard it over and over again from my mother and siblings. As I got older and look back on the story I had constant thoughts about it. As I grew older I realized how strong of a woman Jennifer was and wondered how she Endured what she went through. It haunted me until I finally wrote the story.
Once you start the book it's hard to put down.

    Book Review

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.

K.C. Finn

Enduring Times is a work of fiction written in the literary style by author Betty Godfrey. Set at the turn of the 20th century, this in-depth interpersonal drama focuses on a marriage that turns from a young person’s dream into a nightmare of enormous proportions. When Jennifer marries Bill against her family’s wishes, she thinks everything will be blissful and, at first, it is. But when her son dies suddenly, Bill goes off the rails and takes the family into a dangerous new life as a missionary. Traveling the globe and back, Jennifer tries to cling to her Catholic faith despite the many challenges which life throws at her.

Author Betty Godfrey has crafted a stunning, realistic, and highly emotive interpersonal drama that perfectly captures an incredible experience and one woman’s fortitude and faith throughout it all. Jennifer is a superbly penned heroine, one whom readers will root for from her sweet naivety at the novel’s opening through to her incredible transformation and strength at its close. Her relationship with Bill is perfectly contextualized against the struggles of the historical period, and her will is admirable despite the intense trauma, which is described with emotive lexical choices that bring tears to the reader’s eyes. What results is a well-paced plot with plenty of different vistas, cultures, viewpoints, and events, and an intelligent look at both the pros and cons of faith and how we choose to practice it. Overall I’d highly recommend Enduring Times for literary fiction fans everywhere.

Rabia Tanveer

Enduring Times by Betty Godfrey is the story of a woman who lived all her life under the thumb of someone and never found the will to stand up for herself. Jennifer wanted to live on her terms, but she never got the opportunity to do that. She rebelled against her domineering mother by becoming a nurse and marrying Bill. They lived happily until her son died and Bill changed. Driven by grief, he leaves his job, stops his family from going to doctors, and starts working as a minister in a Faith Healing Church. Her husband wants her to stop working as a nurse, stop going to the Catholic church, and start living the way he wants. As circumstances become worse with every passing day, Jennifer is left wondering how she and her children will survive. With very little money, Jennifer knows she has to do something. What will she do? Can she find the courage to stand up for herself and her children?

Even today, many women are stuck in such relationships where they have no say. Jennifer is the perfect example of such a woman who is driven by circumstances to take a stand for herself. Her development was intense yet gradual. Her heart stopped her from taking the steps to rebel and stand up for her family, but she never lacked courage. Betty Godfrey came up with circumstances that were unusual and believable. Nothing was normal about Bill and Jennifer’s life, but it is a lot more common than we like to think. Bill’s story and his mental state were pitiable. He was a victim of grief and dealt with it in his way. The two tried their best, but the love they once had for each other was overshadowed by their survival instincts. Enduring Times will give you plenty to think about and be thankful for the life you have.

Tammy Ruggles

Enduring Times by Betty Godfrey is a work of fiction that will resonate with women everywhere. Based on a true story, it chronicles the journey of one woman, Jennifer, on her path to happiness, self-reliance, and safety. The journey is not easy, the obstacles seemingly set in concrete and immovable. But Jennifer's sense of fortitude, faith, and belief in herself makes her journey's end worth the trials and tribulations she encounters. Her early life experience sets the stage for the rocky road to come, which many women today, and yesterday, can relate to. Just when it seems like life is all worked out, the plans are in place, and happy-ever-after is just around the corner, life throws you a curveball, as it does with Jennifer.

Godfrey tells her story with a balance of narrative and dialogue, taking care to establish the foundation for the things that come her way in life: husband, family, loss, disruption, shaken faith. It's all here in this book, and, without giving spoilers away, it's one that will leave you wondering if this could really happen to one woman. The answer is yes. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, but I say this fiction rings of truth. You may find yourself shaking your head in a no to some of the things that happen with Jennifer, or nodding your head in a yes because you can relate. Either way, Enduring Times by Betty Godfrey offers to take your hand and lead you down her road toward entertaining fiction with underpinnings of brutal reality and universal truths.

Lesley Jones

In Enduring Times by Betty Godfrey, Jennifer is raised in a very strict Catholic home. Her controlling mother keeps Jennifer and her sister on a tight leash and demands obedience. Jennifer goes against her mother's wishes and enters a career in nursing. But it is not until she meets Bill Rennie, who works at her father's bank, that her love for him gives her the courage to stand up to her mother and elope with him. Although Jennifer's mother swears she will regret the marriage, Jennifer believes Bill is her pillar of strength and the marriage is bound to succeed. Events take a drastic turn when, five years later, Jennifer and Bill lose their firstborn son. Racked with guilt, Bill turns to alcohol to ease his pain which nearly destroys their marriage. As Jennifer struggles to cope, Bill disappears and is found weeks later but his personality has changed drastically. Bill has turned his back on the Catholic church and has joined a New Age religion with some very strange beliefs. Jennifer struggles with making a choice between her strong faith and her husband but agrees to move to Colombia and spread the message of his church. Circumstances force them to leave and when they return to the US, they find the country in financial chaos. They battle to survive with little food and employment. Somehow Jennifer finds the courage to return to nursing without Bill's knowledge in order to provide for her family. When Bill's behavior becomes more dominant and outlandish, Jennifer has to decide whether to accept the status quo or to fight for what she knows in her heart is morally right.

Enduring Times by Betty Godfrey is such a well-written story that you will lose yourself in the lives of the characters. I loved Jennifer as a character; her strength and determination were admirable. Although it was hard for me to understand some of her actions and decisions, I had to remind myself that this was 1914, and times were so much different then. Bill was a great multi-layered character; at times your heart melted and at others, you literally wanted him to disappear from Jennifer's life. Every character brought something interesting to the plot, from the sick and twisted Pastor Markus to the kindhearted Mr. Clancy and comical Tessie. There are some very powerful and heartbreaking scenes and the author can relay the emotions of the characters brilliantly. The plot portrays the era of the Depression vividly as people battle to survive. The ending took me by surprise; it was better than I could have imagined. This novel is a realistic and compelling story about the sanctity of marriage, religion, depression, grief, and mental illness and how people deal with their emotions differently.