Author: M.J. Sullivan
Publisher: Gallery Books
About the Book: An extraordinary journey back in time shows a struggling single dad that the faith he's lost is still alive -- and stronger than ever. . .
Michael Stewart has weathered his share of hardships: a troubled childhood, the loss of his mother, even the degradation of living on the city streets. Now he's raising his teenaged daughter, Elizabeth, on his own and doing the best he can at work and at home. But he's turned his back on his faith -- that is, until the morning Michael and Elizabeth volunteer for a food pantry at their local church. While storing boxes in the basement, they step through a mysterious door. . .and find themselves in first-century Jerusalem during the tumultuous last week of Jesus Christ's life. It is a dangerous and violent place, where doing what your heart tells you is right can get you imprisoned -- or worse -- and they are thankful to take refuge with a kind widow. But when they come face-to-face with Judas Iscariot and the condemned Christ himself, Michael realizes that before they can escape Jerusalem, he must experience history's most necessary and shattering heartbreak -- and that pain and loss must happen if Michael is to be set free: to live, love, and reclaim the blessings he has in the present day.
My thoughts: I am not quite finished with this book yet, but needed to get my review up yet today. I plan on taking it to bed with me and finishing it though. This has been a quick easy read. It really grabbed my curiosity as they traveled back in time by traveling through a trap-door in a church. Father Dennis, at the church, seemed to hand pick them for the job that led them to the basement/trap door - so I am wondering if he had some knowledge or insight into what they would discover down there.
As the story goes along, we learn a little more about Michael and Elizabeth through flashbacks that are shared. We learn about the family situation that Michael came from (lots of verbal abuse from father and siblings); we learn about some of the tough times that Elizabeth had growing up without a mother; we learn how Michael hasn't always been around when Elizabeth has needed him growing up and he beats himself up about that. We haven't learned a whole lot about Vicki, the missing mom in this family. I am hoping to get some answers by the end - but this is the first book in a trilogy, so some of those answers may be forthcoming in future books.
I am enjoying it - definitely is giving a new insight into the week that led up to Christ's crucifixation and has made me wonder what it was really like to be there and experience it. Bye now - I want to go finish it!
~I received this book free in exchange for my review from Simon and Schuster.~
Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness
Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery Book, Mar 2010