Book Review | Necessary Heartbreak by Michael J. Sullivan

Title: Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness
Author: Michael J. Sullivan

Michael Stewart is a widower, father of teenager Elizabeth, and struggling with loss of faith. He feels that each day his daughter needs him a little less, and wonders how he will get by when Elizabeth, his only reason for living, is all grown up. One day, Michael and Elizabeth go to their church to volunteer to help gain Elizabeth community service hours for school credit. While in the church basement, they find a strange trap door, and Narnia-like, follow a path that leads them to the heart of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The Palm Sunday. The father and daughter narrowly escape danger and are taken in by a kind woman named Leah, while the last few days of Jesus’s life play out. Michael is called to question his faith again while building a stronger relationship with his daughter.

I wanted Necessary Heartbreak to be better than it was, truthfully. I was really looking forward to reading this during the Easter season, as the subject matter is quite apt for this time of year. I love historical fiction and learning about historical background to religious events. This just fell short for me. There was simplistic dialogue that would be great for an early young adult reader, but was far too watered down to be of any interest to me. The many flashbacks into Michael’s life that were supposed to tell the reader of the characters’ demons could have been executed differently, as there was little substance to what should have been very emotional situations. I think everything just needed to be fleshed out a bit more.

What disappointed me most was that there were only two short paragraphs dedicated to what I thought were the most interesting questions that came up when reading Necessary Heartbreak: What would have happened if Jesus stood up for himself? What if someone warned Jesus? What would change?

This book was great in concept but fell a little short in execution. It’s still an interesting read, and I definitely recommend it for anyone of “confirmation” age.

Thanks to Pocket Books for the review opportunity. This is my honest opinion of the book.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.