Thursday, June 13, 2019

Book Review - Hearts Set Free by Jess Lederman

I had no idea what I was undertaking when I said yes to reviewing this book.

Hearts Set Free is complicated, epic, messy, and disjointed, just like real life. It is semi-autobiographical spanning a timeframe of 80 years or more that starts in native Alaska and ends in Las Vegas. It's a lot to keep track of - characters, connections, and timeframes with a little bit of spiritual warfare - devils, demons, and visions.

The story eventually becomes engaging, but it takes a while to get there. Luke is one of the main characters, and we learn about his background, which initially starts in Native Alaska. His father abandons his family - Luke and his mother, which starts them on the quest to finding him. They eventually do find him, many years later in Vegas where he died as he was working on a dam. In the interim, we also meet David Gold, who became a preacher in the Vegas desert. David is Luke's stepfather. There are other characters - Tim Faber and Joan Reed who connect with Daniel Gold - Luke's
uncle in Vegas as they research a science story for their science television show. Joan becomes a Christian, and Tim has an out of body experience, and he too ultimately becomes a believer.

I think there are too many storylines to follow and too many characters. Also, the author weaves in historical figures in an attempt to make this story more engaging - Bugsy Siegel and Jack Johnson are two that stand out.

The author made a promise to his dying wife to write this story, so it seems many of the characters are real.

I did appreciate the strong emphasis on memorizing and quoting the Psalms and the theological discussions that many of the characters had. In particular, this quote resonated with me, "Show me a man who has never been beset by doubt, and I'll show you a liar." The feeling of doubt is universal.

This book traces the path of doubt to faith in Christ. This book is dense, so give yourself plenty of time to get through this.


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  1. I see what you mean though I've not read the book, in trying to write novels it is easy to have to many characters and subplots. Probably, why I haven't finished one.And even the Bible says you couldn't write all Jesus did, so it is probably a good idea to include the main life experiences and most important spiritual one in order to keep it simple.

  2. Effective review within a short time.


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