Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness

Necessary Heartbreak by Michael John Sullivan
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Mar 07, 2011

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Read from February 28 to March 04, 2011

‘Heartbreak is necessary for one to understand what God’s gift of time truly is.’

Michael Stewart is no stranger to hardship: a troubled childhood; the death of his mother; living on the streets; and the loss of his wife Vicki have each contributed to his turning his back on his Christian faith. Michael is doing the best he can to raise his teenage daughter Elizabeth, but he’s finding life lonely and tough.

One Saturday, while helping at a church food drive, first Elizabeth and then Michael enter a trapdoor in the church basement. The trapdoor leads to a tunnel, and when Michael and Elizabeth reach the end of the tunnel, they find themselves in first century Jerusalem caught up in the events of the final week of the life of Jesus Christ. Michael and Elizabeth meet Leah, a kind widow, who tries to help them find their way home. Michael has a face to face encounter with Jesus, and has a life changing experience as a consequence.
The story is interspersed with flashbacks which flesh out the stories of Michael, Elizabeth and Leah by providing relevant background information. Michael and Elizabeth make repeated attempts to return home, but the tunnel they emerged from is being guarded and their attempts are thwarted until after Christ’s crucifixion. But they do succeed in returning home, and it seems that the future may well be brighter.

I read the earlier version of this novel in 2008, and while I enjoyed it as well, this is a more polished story. Because the story enables us to understand the causes and consequences of Michael’s pain, his journey back in time can be seen as a way of coming to terms with the past and re-igniting his faith for a more hopeful future. I understand that Mr Sullivan is working on the sequel entitled ‘The Greatest Christmas Gift’.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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