Laura's Reviews > Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness

Necessary Heartbreak by Michael John Sullivan
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011

A single parent, who had suffered hardships throughout his childhood, Michael Stewart is now raising his daughter, Elizabeth, to the best of his ability. To shun potential relationships, he digs out his wedding band.

To fulfill her honor society credits, Elizabeth has to attain a certain number of community-related service points, so Michael is taking her to help out with the food pantry at Our Lady of the Bay Church.

It’s here that Michael and Elizabeth find a sub-basement door while stacking excess food donation boxes in the cluttered basement. Returning with the last boxes, Elizabeth is nowhere to be found. That’s when Michael notices that the sub-basement door, the one he distinctly told her not to open, is lying flat against the floor. It’s at the end of that sub-basement tunnel that we find father and daughter looking through a grate into a time warp of the first century, the week before Jesus’ crucifixion, which they first think is a play.

The cruelty they witness initiates them to push through the grate to rescue a man. Thus, Michael and Elizabeth are transported back into the days of the Roman Empire, filled with all the cruelty, violence, and inhumane treatment of that era. The reality of the circumstances has you imagining yourself getting dusty and dirty right along with the characters, while cautiously keeping out of sight of the Roman officers. The tension and fear are palpable. The descriptions of the locale and customs are fascinating to learn about.

Since the story revolves largely around Michael and Elizabeth trying to re-enter their world again through the grate without getting caught by the Roman soldiers, while also trying to save Jesus from the lies, cruel beatings and death, it’s highly action-packed and dangerous. The romantic tension tempers the dire circumstances Michael and Elizabeth find themselves in.

The flashbacks of the different characters throughout the story helped bring you ‘up-to-speed’ as to what transpired in the lives of each of the characters to-date, presenting several different points of view. Great contrast to the storyline.

The statement, “Heartbreak is necessary for one to understand how great God’s gift of time truly is,” is so poignant in the story, something Michael needs to contemplate personally. Through this statement, the author also gets you thinking on different levels as you comprehend the circumstances, past, present, and even the future, regarding Jesus and your own life. The descriptions of the customs, fear, danger, and harshness of crucifixion help you understand the background of the Scriptures better.

I stepped outside my normal genre, and was pleasantly surprised.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review. No monetary value was exchanged.

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