Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness    -     By: Michael J. Sullivan
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Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness

Pocket Books / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Pocket Books
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8 X 5 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781439184233

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Publisher's Description

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.

Author Bio

Michael J. Sullivan is an author and sports writer living in New York who graduated from St. John's University, and is a member of the McDonald's All-American Selection Boys Basketball Committee and the Parade All-American Selection Committee.  Michael hosted sports radio shows on WGBB on Long Island, NY, and WEVD 1050AM in New York City, as well as worked with ESPN and Sporting News.  In addition to writing the When Time Forgets series, Michael covers high school and college sports for Fox-owned Scout.com, which involves daily activity on ten to twelve message boards as well as writing approximately 100 articles each month.

Michael has published a number of books through established trade houses, including the trivia book So You Think You're a New Yorker, which was an iconic work lauded by columnist Cindy Adams.  In addition, he published seven sports-themed books for children through Enslow, and a volume of a children’s book series through HarperCollins.

Editorial Reviews

“A beautiful book. . . . I applaud Michael J. Sullivan for bringing his story to life.”
—Eric Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Fireproof and Haunt of Jackals
“Necessary Heartbreak is the product of a big talent and a mighty heart, and this entrancing tale of mysteries both temporal and spiritual is sure to take up residence under your skin.” -- Sam Hamm, Screenwriter (Batman movies)

“Necessary Heartbreak is the first of Sullivan’s trilogy, which opens with quite the proverbial bang.” -- Midwest Book Review

“Michael J Sullivan’s story is inspiring, makes you think about what is important in life, what your faith means.” -- Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech head basketball coach

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book and eagerly await the volumes that are slated to follow. I highly recommend it.” -- Pastor Marc Axelrod (Potter, WI)

“Mr. Sullivan treats the story of the last week of Christ’s life with much respect." --Kyle Sabo, The Cathedral of the Incarnation Book Club (Garden City, NY)

“It is a great action/adventure story with a time traveling twist . . . Full of complicated love stories and questions of faith and belief . . . It made me laugh and cry at turns." --Melissa Voet – Community Book Club (California)

Product Reviews

4.2 Stars Out Of 5
4.2 out of 5
(3)
(1)
(0)
(1)
(0)
Quality:
4 out Of 5
(4 out of 5)
Value:
4.3 out Of 5
(4.3 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3.8 out Of 5
(3.8 out of 5)
75%
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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  1. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    interesting read;no spiritual value
    November 9, 2012
    arlene
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I just finished reading NH last night and was greatly disappointed. The historical value was interesting and it was colorfully written (thus the two stars), however there seemed to be a lot of gaps and I kept wondering when the main character would be spiritually enlightened. The story begins with Michael and his daughter Elizabeth stumbling into ancient Jerusalem. They are befriended by a widow who leads them to safety. They relationship between the three is very moving but there seems to be a lack in character development and Michael seems to be more interested in the widow than with Jesus. Even after a sudden encounter with Judas and an emotionally gripping encounter with Jesus, there seems to be little impact on his life. He does use crude language sometimes and that doesn't change afterward. After all is said and done his main concern is taking his daughter out for ice cream. I kept expecting him to be dramatically changed but his last evening in Jerusalem is spent snuggling with the widow. (Not sure if smooching widows is historically accurate!) I would reccomend this to a teen interested in historical fiction however, because of the language, I won't be passing it on to mine.
  2. Victorville, CA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A masterpiece for a debut novel!
    May 31, 2012
    Heart2Heart
    Victorville, CA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What would you do if you found yourself transported completely by accident into the Biblical past, back to the time of Jesus' ministry just before the crucifixion? Well that is exactly what happens to Michael Stewart and his daughter, Elizabeth.

    Having many struggles early on in his life, Michael now finds himself raising his daughter, Elizabeth on his own, having lost his wife, Vicki. Now Michael has turned his back on his faith in God and in a surprising turn of events, while helping out a food drive at the local church, Elizabeth disappears into the basement behind an ancient door in the floor. When Michael attempts to go after her, they find themselves transported into first-century Jerusalem during the last week of Jesus Christ's life.

    Not exactly being dressed in local attire and coming to the aid of a man being severely beaten by Roman soldiers, Michael is arrested for interfering. He soon finds out the man he attempted to rescue was Barabbas, accused of murdering a Roman soldier. Now trapped within an ancient prison, all Michael wants to do is find Elizabeth and get back to their real home. Elizabeth finds herself the center of unwanted attention when one of the Roman soldiers, Marcus, sees a possible wife in finding her. Now she must remain hidden while the Passover feast begins and the city is swarming with soldiers and citizens. She finds shelter and security being taken in by a local woman named Leah, who knows Michael already. How is that possible if they just entered Jerusalem today?

    When Michael is released from prison, he thinks it's because he's befriended by Marcus, only he is using Michael as bait to find Elizabeth. When Michael attempts to find Elizabeth in the busy city, he comes face to face with Jesus Christ as he is entering the city on Palm Sunday. Will Michael and Elizabeth ever find their way back home, or does God have bigger plans by transporting Michael back in the past to find his love for Christ again?

    In the novel, Necessary Heartbreak by Michael J. Sullivan, the reader is given a great look into the historical world of ancient Jerusalem and how we might view this time in history through the eyes of Michael and Elizabeth. This is Michael Sullivan's debut novel and I was fortunate enough to read the sequel to this one first, Everybody's Daughter and immediately found the connection between the two stories. This is a fantastic series for anyone who loves Bible history and who would love to go back in time without the fear of being really trapped there like our characters from the story. I love how both characters view this opportunity to meet Jesus in this once in a lifetime moment.

    I received this book compliments of Michael J. Sullivan for my honest review and once again have to applaud his talents as a writer. Even though this is his debut novel, it was well thought out and the story line is amazing. It truly holds the readers attention throughout and wonder just what the interactions will be during their trip into the past. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and if you love science fiction blended with a bit of history with a Christian twist, then this is the perfect book for you.
  3. Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Quite An Amazing Story!!!
    November 18, 2011
    kattrox
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I was searching recently for a different kind of book, one that is faithfilled, kind of science fiction, yet original and brings Jesus into the picture. After reading this books synopsis and digging into the book's first chapters I knew I had chosen a good one to spend the day with.

    Michael, a single parent is trying to raise his daughter Elizabeth, now a teenager alone, his wife Vicky had passed away during the baby's birth. Assisting the priest one night Michael and Elizabeth happen upon a tunnel at the church and find themselves walking into the 1st century Jerusalem in the time of Christ. They were looked upon as foreigners, their dress and language calling attention to themselves by the Roman soldiers and other bystanders. Michael and Elizabeth feel they must speak out against the atrocities they are witness to. They soon find out that defending someone in 1st century can sometimes produce harsh consequences. They are taken in by a kindly woman named Leah. She teaches them about her culture and way of life. While in Jerusalem Michael looks for a way to change the outcomes of events he knows that will happen, but yet knowing they must find their way back home somehow.

    The novel also expertly blends Michael's past when he was younger so the reader can get to know his character more in depth.

    This novel was quite an amazing story that will hold the readers attention throughout the book! History, suspense, drama and creativity are smoothly blended along with a twist ending in this well written first novel. Characters are well developed, plot, dialogue, description and scenery all work well as there are no dull parts. I found the overall message inspiring and I was challenged in my faith. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Sullivan in the future! I highly recommend this book to others. Very Well Written!
  4. St. Paul, MN
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Necessary Heartbreak!
    April 1, 2011
    onedesertrose
    St. Paul, MN
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    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.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 27, 2010
    Barbara J. Robinson
    Necessary Heartbreak by Michael J. Sullivan published by Gallery Books, copyright 2010 is must read. 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 and 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 his daughter, Elizabeth, for his wife. Elizabeth finds a trap door and explores. Michael returns and follows his daughter through a 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. Jesus informs him that he shouldn't look too far; 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?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.
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