I'm not reviewing a whole lot of adult books these days, but the ones I am tend to me in the Christian fiction genre. I have some mainstream adult fiction on my lists too, just haven't gotten to it quite yet!
Today I'm presenting a book that I'm not quite sure how I feel about. I finished it well over a month ago, but I've been letting it stew in my head for the last few weeks, trying to make a decisions. Do I like it or don't I? Did I think it was written the best way it possibly could be or don't I? I've come to some conclusions, but I'm still having a bit of a hard time, so bear with me!
Necessary Heartbreak: Book One of the When Time Forgets Trilogy is written by M.J. Sullivan and introduces us to a father/daughter team that have been given a difficult path in life. Michael Stewart is a single father and still isn't sure how he's getting through the days alone, raising his daughter Elizabeth. Time seems to be slipping by them at an alarming pace and all Michael wants to do is intervene and slow it down to something more easily handled. God, however, has other plans in mind.
When Michael and Elizabeth are in their church's old root cellar, they discover a door leading to what appears to be another world. In fact, by stepping through that door they've been transported back to Jerusalem, in the time of Jesus Christ. They become trapped, with soldiers wanting to inprison them at every turn, and only through the help of Leah are they able to make it through their first couple of nights in Jerusalem.
Michael is trapped in his past, not only literally, being in Jerusalem, but also in his mind, back when his wife were still alive. As God works in him and Leah helps him along, Michael begins to understand what really matters in life, and what he must to do go back to his world.
I absolutely loved the concept of this planned trilogy. Wanting to always learn more about Jesus myself, I found it fascinating to read a fictional interpretation of Jerusalem in His time and what lives the people that followed Him truly lived. Sullivan hit that part on the nose. My problems lie within the "selling" of the story. I didn't quite believe Michael's character. He just didn't seem totally real to me and I fought with him mentally throughout the story. Some of the things he said and did, seemed out of his supposed character, making it hard for me, as the reader, to want to know more about HIS story.
Instead, I found myself wanting more of Leah and more of the Roman soldiers. What was really in their minds? How did they percieve the Crucifixion? And of course, Christ. What was he thinking as he was being beaten down? I think I wanted Him more of a centralized point of this story, rather than figurative.
Overall, I really enjoyed Necessary Heartbreak and look forward to reading the sequel. Unfortunately I did have some issues with Michael and with the transitions from the root cellar to Jerusalem. I wasn't quite sold on them, but it's ok. That didn't ruin it for me over all, not by a long shot. A very difficult story to take on as an author!
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Necessary Heartbreak: Book One