Review by Dorothy
What do you do after returning to the 21st Century from the 1st Century and living in the time and places of Jesus Christ to living in our modern world? Does this experience change your outlook on modern times and your behavior to your fellow man? Do you keep looking for ways to go back and try to actually talk to Jesus or do you make the best of your life in the here and now? If you were able to go back and talk to him, what would you ask him? If he was able to help you talk to loved ones you have lost, would you ask them for forgiveness? If you were asked, would you give up your happiness to see someone else happy?
These are a few of the things that Michael Stewart has to confront. Along with raising his teenage daughter alone, he is a torn man and haunted by the things he could have and should have done. Then the portal opens up for him again and he takes the opportunity to go back to Jerusalem, back to see Jesus and to talk to him about his lost wife and possibly take his new love, Leah, back to the modern world. Unknown to him, his daughter, Elizabeth follows him, but ends up in a slightly different time than her father. When he returns to our world, he is the focus of a police investigation into her disappearance and they think that he has hurt her in some way as well.
While time travel is not a new concept for writers, this is a fresh and very different look at the possibilities of time travel. I do not generally read books with any religious theme to them, they tend to be preachy, But I was VERY impressed with this book. It made me stop and think many times and wonder what I would do if I had been in the same shoes as the Michael Stewart. I found this to be a well written and profoundly deep and thoughtful book. I recommend this book to anyone, even if you are not a religious person.
Michael John Sullivan graduated from St. John's University with a communications degree and a promising future in the field of journalism after working for the official school paper the previous two years. Six months later, he found himself washing his hair in a toilet at the same university as he prepared for a job interview. He was homeless at the age of 23 after first watching his mother ─ his protector in a dysfunctional family ─ die from cancer. A year later his father asked him to leave. Riding a New York City subway train at night, his only companion was a green plastic bag of belongings. During these bleak days he began writing his most reflective and emotional childhood and adult memories now featured in two of his novels.
On a bitterly cold New Year's Eve that year, Sullivan intentionally hid under a pew in the back of a church to stay warm for the night. After the doors were locked, he lay near a makeshift manger, writing and talking to the baby Jesus. It was a cathartic experience, one that would continue to resonate with him years later. He was eventually rescued by an aunt and uncle. After spending much of the past two decades raising their daughters while working at home, Sullivan returned to his notes in 2007 and began writing Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness. It was published by Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books imprint in April 2010. The Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak as one of the year's best in Christian fiction for 2010.
He recently finished the sequel, Everybody's Daughter, featuring more memories from his young adult life, including the day he walked to Forest Park as he contemplated taking his own life. Only the strains of a song prevented him from doing the unthinkable. Sullivan lives with his family in New York. He is a nominated board member for the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless.