Susan's Reviews > Everybody's Daughter

Everybody's Daughter by Michael John Sullivan
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May 18, 12

Read from May 16 to 17, 2012

Everybody's Daughter, by Michael J. Sullivan, is both the second book of a trilogy as well as a novel that can easily stand on its own. You don't have to have read Necessary Heartbreak, the first in the trilogy, in order to enjoy this one (but you should because it adds to the richness of the read and because Necessary Heartbreak is a great title).

Everybody's Daughter centers on Michael Stewart, a long-widowed forty-something whose greatest accomplishment is raising his 14-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, on his own after his wife was killed in a car accident. A troubled family history and the guilt and grief he feels over his wife's death has left Michael struggling to connect with the world and others. And he's also dealing with the normal challenges any parent does with a daughter who is no longer a little girl but still needs her dad. While volunteering at their church, he and Elizabeth discovered a tunnel that led them to First Century Jerusalem in the week before Christ's death. Four months later, he is still pondering the meaning of what he saw and who he met, especially a woman named Leah, who helped save him and Elizabeth from a brutal Roman soldier and with whom Michael fell in love. When Michael has the chance to enter the tunnel again, he does. Elizabeth follows him, not knowing that her father has already returned. Michael is blamed for Elizabeth's disappearance. Father and daughter must fight their separate battles in separate centuries.

Everybody's Daughter works on a number of levels. Yes, it's a "Christian" novel, because faith does play a large part in Michael's journey, but it is much more than a "God will make you happy" novel. Parts of it feel like a mystery as Michael tries to find Elizabeth. In Michael, Sullivan has drawn a deeply rich, complex character who has as many doubts about God and forgiveness and as much pent-up anger and guilt as the rest of us. He's not an anti-hero; he's imperfect and flawed and genuine.

What moved me the most about this book is that it is filled with genuine emotion that isn't overwrought and with a view of faith and forgiveness that feels natural and accessible. (There's actually a little inter-faith scene that adds some comic relief at a crucial point.) Everybody's Daughter is a difficult book to classify. Is it religious fiction? Historical fiction? Mystery? Mainstream fiction? It's a little bit of all those things, and it's a great read. Give it a try. (Now I can't wait for the third book.)
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Michael John Sullivan Thank you Susan for taking the time to read and review my book. It means quite a bit coming from a great writer like yourself.


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