4 out of 4 stars
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Hearts set free by Jess Lederman is a thrilling historical christian fiction novel. It is about the work of salvation that takes place in a person that delivers as well as sets hearts free.
Set between 1914 and 2011, Lederman takes you back and forth on a journey that keeps one glued to his book. One is told the story of Luke Noongwook whose father is lured away from home by a white female journalist. After many months, his mother Yura is determined to kill her husband's lover and bring her husband back home. Yura prepares for a long journey, arms herself with an ulu knife then sets out accompanied by her son. They journey from the Alaskan territory to Seattle in 1925, and to wherever news or hints of Victor Noongwook would lead them.
David Gold is a theological school dropout who took up boxing. Unable to find a satisfying answer to the will of God for his life, he will join the war and later return to boxing. When David accepts an invitation to pastor the church of an assassinated Pastor Justin James in Las Vegas, he takes Yura and Luke with him.
In the present day 2011, Tim Faber and Joan Reed are looking for material for their cable network's programme. Determined to find the missing link to the erasure of Georges Lemaître's historical scientific breakthrough, Joan must seek out a Professor Luke Noongwook.
Can David Gold's new found purpose save the church of the Heart set free? Will Luke and Yura find Victor? Will Yura kill her husband's lover? Can Professor Noogwook help Joan Reed?
The novel is filled with fascinating and relatable characters. Yura is a loyal wife. She is quiet, thoughtful and sometimes cold. She learns that the burden she carries is lifted through forgiveness. David has many questions and doubts. He has a hunger to know God and God's will as well as do it. Luke yearns for his father's love. He questions his father's love for him even if he can not bring himself to say it. Joan longs for the faith that she had as a child. Tim sees science as the answer to everything.
The narrative is both in the first person which is Luke's point of view as well as the third person. It draws you in right from the start. It is well formatted, easy to read and hard to put down. The ever changing time scenes add to the suspense.
What I liked most about the book was the vulnerability and honesty of the characters, especially in their thought process. David can look at himself and call himself a fraud as a preacher/boxer. Joan chides herself for continuing an affair as she reflects on apostle Paul's words: I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want but I do the very thing I hate. The understanding of their fallen nature and need for God is clear. The appearance of historical characters such as Albert Einstein, Georges Lemaitre and Jack Johnson alongside the fictional characters made the story almost believeable.
The book appears to be professionally edited thus I give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to christians as well as anyone that enjoys reading Christian fiction.
Hearts Set Free
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