New from Simon & Schuster

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
The Innovators by Walter Isaacson
Rocks by Joe Perry
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
As You Wish by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
Necessary Heartbreak

Necessary Heartbreak

A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness

  • reading group guide
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.
Choose a format:
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439184233 | 
  • March 2010
List Price $16.99
This title is temporarily out of stock, please check back soon.

Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Necessary Heartbreak includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Michael J. Sullivan. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Necessary Heartbreak tells the story of Michael, a single dad from New York who has lost his faith after his wife’s death and is struggling to raise his feisty fourteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth. When Michael and Elizabeth stumble upon a trapdoor in their church basement, they discover a portal leading back to first-century Jerusalem during the tumultuous last week of Christ’s life. There they encounter Leah, a grieving widow; a menacing soldier who is determined to take Elizabeth as his own; Judas on the last night of his life; and a close-up of the man Jesus. Unable to return to the present, Michael comes face-to-face with some of his most limiting beliefs and realizes he must open himself up to the possibility of a deeper faith in people, in himself, and in love if he is to find his way home.

Discussion Questions

1. Compare Michael and Elizabeth’s relationship with Michael’s relationship with his own father. How are their power struggles and comm see more

About the Author

Michael J. Sullivan
Photograph by Jen Rinaldi

Michael J. Sullivan

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.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!