Hope in Patience

Beth Fehlbaum, Author
Beth Fehlbaum, WestSide (www.westside-books.com), $16.95 (312p) ISBN 978-1-934813-41-6
Reviewed on: 10/11/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
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Fehlbaum returns to the setting, characters, and events of her debut novel, Courage in Patience (Kunati, 2008) as 15-year-old Ashley Asher continues to cope with the sexual and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather. Still living in Patience, Tex., with her father and stepmother, Ashley is rebuilding her life through therapy, new friends, and the support of her family. But old scars run deep, and Ashley relives the abuse in her nightmares and cannot accept the fact that her mother has chosen her husband, the abuser, over Ashley. The story starts slowly, with multiple flashbacks; despite the emotional tension, whether Ashley will continue to heal is never in doubt. Fehlbaum, an abuse survivor herself, doesn't shy away from the brutality Ashley has suffered and the painful road she must walk. Her details are achingly real, though there's little subtlety in the delivery of her messages, and some scenes feel over the top, as when the school principal inexplicably starts shaking Ashley when she cries in his office. Still, sympathetic Ashley will have readers rooting for her. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
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