Alicia Mangum, Apex Reviews:
Courage In Patience is one of those incredible literary jewels that comes along so rarely that, upon discovering it, you can't help feeling privileged for being among the first to read it.
Beth Fehlbaum has crafted such a moving, inspirational tale for the ages that it's hard to believe that this manuscript, as yet unpublished, will remain in the throes of literary oblivion for very long. Every page, every chapter, every progression of story and character is so compelling, so absorbing that you actually hate to see it end - and you find yourself re-reading it again and again, if for nothing more than the heartwarming pleasure derived from doing so.
Fehlbaum's narrative is centered on 14 year-old Ashley Nicole Asher, not-so-affectionately called "Ash-Hole" by her stepfather, Charlie. It's that same stepfather who initially manages to ingratiate himself into the lives of then-8-year-old Ashley and her mother, Cheryl, with gifts, wise-cracking humor, and faux-protective tendencies.
Once he's firmly rooted within the routine of their lives, though, his monstrous true colors begin to show, mainly in the form of indecent sexual liberties taken with Ashley herself.
He shamelessly molests her for eight years until he crosses the line one day and sexually assaults her in brutal fashion, resulting in the intervention of Child Protective Services, who promptly sends her to live with her absentee father, David, and his new wife and son in Patience, Texas. After years of a tortured existence at the hands of her mother and stepfather, it is in Patience that Ashley finally begins to heal and learns to open her heart to trust again.
The process is not an easy one, though, and if not for the steady support and guidance of her savvy stepmother, Bev, Ashley may never make a full recovery. On her personal road to wellness, though, Ashley soon bonds with other bruised souls similarly conflicted, in a small town struggling to come to grips with its own need for healing - along racial, spiritual, and emotional lines.
With its full-dimensional characters and richly converging storylines, Courage In Patience will teach you more than a few lessons about the importance of forgiveness - both of others and yourself. Fehlbaum does a masterful job of displaying the power of simple communication and empathetic compassion in overcoming some of the toughest obstacles facing us as a collective whole.
Regardless of the divisions that tend to define us, her storytelling conveys the undeniable need we all have to come together if we ever expect to bridge the rifts left to us by our familial and societal traditions.
Supported by not-so-random, insightful quotes from the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Buddha, and Louis L'Amour, Courage In Patience is an absolutely essential tome that needs to be required reading in schools, churches, and counseling centers all over the globe. An instant classic from a supremely talented mind and wonderful heart!
Donna Shelton, Author of Breaking Dawn (Ransom Books, 2007):
Courage in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum is a riveting story about a young girl named Ashley, who is sexually abused by her step father and has lived her life in fear of him.
When Ashley finally gathers the courage to end the cycle of abuse, she embarks on the emotional roller coaster ride of her life. Ashley finds true friends in the company of those she least expected to find friendship and a new family on her road to recovery.
Beth Fehlbaum writes about real issues that affect all ages. Courage in Patience is about overcoming obstacles to heal from sexual abuse, racism, hate, and fear. In addition, it’s about the strength of love and the journey of healing.
The characters in Courage in Patience, are so real, they pull you into the story and make you feel the hardships and the victories as they occur. This book can be a lifesaver to anyone who needs to be inspired - to summon up the courage they need - to get help and on the path to healing.
Courage in Patience is a great book for young adults who can identify with the characters and understand that, no matter how terrible life is - life can change for the better - with courage and patience. I loved this book!
Donna Shelton Author of Breaking Dawn, Ransom Books, Nov. 2007
C.Wolf Forrest reviewed Courage in Patience, calling it "Compelling, stark..highly recommended."
Courage in Patience (Texas) is a compelling and stark story by Author Beth Fehlbaum of the horrific effects of child abuse, religious dogma / idiocy not only on its main character Ashley Asher, but also on the population of those small backwater hamlets of Texas.
But they could be anywhere.
The tribulations of this innocent child growing into a young woman makes one cringe with its inflicted descriptive brutalities. In reading this book, one cannot help but experience a visceral reaction, which seems to call for violence to oppose not only the sick-minded pedophile-'fathers,' but also the sick-minded 'mothers' who tolerate such behavior in the name of their own 'security.'
But it is also a story of hope for young adults, should they seek and find the many decent people who abhor abuse and vicious criminal actions of any kind. It is made quite clear in this book that one of the main obstacles to finding such help for abuse victims resides in the fact that the victims have been so traumatized that they no longer believe such decency exists within their communities.
Thus, it is even more devastating when mothers, the so-called protectors of the young, ignore the facts and choose to believe the evil among them simply does not exist, or make some self-serving excuses.
Courage in Patience, however, finds a way out and reaffirms basic decency for Ashley Asher to find. And find it she does, notwithstanding the very obstacles she faces for her life to come. In the process, bigotry and brutality are confronted and finally, the villain gets his just deserts. (Just in time, before I hired a tank, found Patience, TX on the map, and blew that turkey away (the pedophile, not the town) - sorry, I get riled up with injustice).
In the final analysis, it is a book of hope for young adults who may, perhaps, have encountered such overwhelming evil. Highly recommended.
22 year old Krystle read my manuscript and gave me her feedback.
I finished reading your manuscript last week and I was blown away. I loved it and I was hooked!
The development of the characters is amazing because I felt like I had a real notion of the type of people they were. I was particularly hooked on Dub White because I remember having class with those kind of guys and wondering what their home life was like. I wondered if their parents cared, if their behavior was a result of their parents lack of caring, etc. It was superb.
Most of all, I loved how each character found their voice and faced the town in the meeting.
You know, the one thing I love about a good book is the way it can stir me and really reach into me and pull at my core. Your manuscript really gripped me at times. It made me face a lot of bad memories I had in Red Oak during my junior high years, and even in my high school years when it started to get around that I was gay.
I have so many good things to say about your manuscript, I'm not sure how to put it all in an order that makes sense without hopping from one topic to another. Your plot was amazing. I kept summarizing each chapter to my fiance, Nicole (who happens to be African-American as well), and she loved it. She particularily loved the part about ZZ's family, as did I. I always dreamt of slapping Red Oak in the face, so I kind of liked closing my eyes and living through ZZ's story.
I thoroughly enjoyed the way you portrayed Ashley's view of the church and its "pizza parties," because it reminded me of when that circus of a church program came to town to prey on impressionable junior high kids and make them smash their CDs, etc. It brought me back to that terrible memory in junior high of when Lauren W. died, and rather than comforting me, this youth pastor literally pulled me into his prayer circle, cluched my hands tightly, and tried to make me convert. He made everyone pray loudly over my "lost soul" and was trying to force me to make Jesus Christ my savior. It was one of the most traumatic things I've ever experienced because of the way he approached it. I'm still trying to find that youth pastor to this day because there's a lot of things I want to say to him...
The families of these characters are so well-developed too! I have perfect visuals of the type of people they are. I really loved the description of T.W's mom!!! It reminded me of this kid I went to school with because his mom was just like that!!! I loved it! My mom used to smile over-politely at those people in the mall when they'd give me dirty looks for wearing my gay pride shirts! I loved it!!
Overall, I felt like you weren't just telling a story. I felt like you were telling everyone's story. The jock, the religious people, the outcasts, the recovering, the troublemaker, the young parent... man, it was just amazing.
You've inspired me to start up my new novel (I never finish these darn things!) and get out some of the anger I have towards my aunt so it won't eat at me anymore.
So... when's the next manuscript coming out? :) Just know that you have an avid reader in me!