Necessary Heartbreak by Michael J. Sullivan published by Gallery Books, copyright 2010 is a novel you can't miss. I couldn't put it down once I started reading, since I was hooked from the first chapter. The main characters are a single dad and his daughter, Michael and Elizabeth. Journey with them through life's obstacle course in the world, as we know it today, as well as through first-century Jerusalem. Michael losses two important women in his life, loves of his life, his mother and his wife. Left with his daughter to raise, he strives to do the best he can and vows never to leave her or allow anyone to hurt her. But, in Jerusalem, Roman soldiers threaten to overpower him, and one wants Elizabeth for his wife. She's only 14, not even allowed to kiss, so Michael is determined not to let this solider have his way with his daughter, but can he save her?
While helping the local church with food pantry items, Elizabeth finds a trap door and explores while Michael goes back upstairs for more items. He returns and follows his daughter through the hole in the basement floor to a world that's only existed in the pages of the Bible. After the loss of his mother and living on New York streets homeless, his faith is shaken, but he soon discovers Jesus is real when Jesus looks at him and says, "Heartbreak is necessary for one to understand how great God's gift of time truly is." He asks Michael if he's there to lift his burden, or to help Jesus with his. Then, Jesus informs him that he shouldn't look too far, since his daughter can lift his burden.
Without the help of a beautiful green-eyed lady in Jerusalem, Leah, Michael and his daughter would have been easy prey for the Roman soldiers, but will her help be enough to save Elizabeth from marrying an unknown Roman soldier, or will she be forced to become his wife to save herself and her father?
A novel that truly mixes life's problems of today and blends them with history, this book will enrich your life and soul. It's a pleasurable read I started late on a Friday evening and completed on the following Sunday. And, it deciphers today's teens well, always in a hurry with earbuds tucked in their ears. Parents of today compete with Ipods, cell phones, and electronics for attention. But, Michael and Elizabeth are whisked back in time and history where no electronic gadgets can aid their rescue, and Liz, as she's called by her friends, has to learn to deal with life on a very humble level without her cell phone. She's grateful for her father and never wants him to leave her side. Will their world ever return to normal? If it does, will Leah be a part of it, or will they be forced to leave her to the Roman soldiers? Will heartbreak be necessary for all of them to survive?
Back Cover Material: 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.
About the Author, Michael J. Sullivan: Michael, a sports journalist and author of sports-themed books for children, started the novel decades ago and some of the flashbacks came from that time period. In May 2007, he began to earnestly work to complete Necessary Heartbreak. After the first draft was completed, he acquired an editor. He says he believes there are people who walk the earth who step into your life for reasons, and he had the help of such people in completing his novel, which is based upon his life experiences.
While on vacation in Orlando, Florida, he received a phone call from Simon & Schuster. Their interest was in publishing a revised edition. He found the perfect fit and the support he needed for the trilogy, was placed in the hands of a capable editor, and took a year to write, re-write, revise, and re-write the novel. He thanks his wife for her help and support as well as all others who played a hand in the outcome of its publication. The appendix contains a Reading Group Guide.
Michael lives in New York City and hosts several sports radio shows. He's worked with ESPN and Sporting News. He's a graduate of St. John's University. Visit him at www.whentimeforgets.com. There's also an ebook edition available.
In my humble and honest opinion, this is one of the best books I've read since last summer when I read Lynn Austin's All She Ever Wanted and Chris Fabry's Dogwood. I urge you to grab Necessary Heartbreak for a read you won't soon forget. It's available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com and hit local bookstores last March 31! If you haven't read it yet, don't miss it on its anniversary!