4 out of 4 stars
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“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.” —Psalm 118:5
Hearts Set Free is a multi-genre novel authored by Jess Lederman. The book offers stories of how people’s hearts are set free to return to God.
Luke’s father deserts his wife, Yura, for another woman. Yura sets out with her son to search for him and take revenge. David Gold is a boxer who drops out of Moody Bible Institute and finds himself wrestling with God. Tim and Joan are lovers who represent the Science Cable T.V. Lemaitre is researching about the expansion of the universe based on Einstein’s equations. He describes the relationship between faith and science. Pastor Justin James walks the roads of Las Vegas to evangelize migrant workers involved in building a controversial dam. The conflict leads to violence. Pastor David Gold succeeds him. Luke becomes a Christian. He falls in love with Julia who is also a member of the same congregation. All the characters are transformed after embracing Christ in their lives.
In my opinion, Lederman is careful and creative in laying out the plot consisting of three different narratives which intermingle to create an exquisitely entertaining experience for the Christian reader. The book enriches one’s faith and awe for the beauty of God’s majestic creation. The author does an excellent job by revealing the struggles of unbelievers who finally turn to Christ to be freed from the bondage of sin and unforgiveness. He reveals a glowing transformation in the lives of the characters. He makes the stories beautifully converge at Las Vegas where the little community of the Church of the Heart Set Free shares in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.
I also like how the author inserts historical fiction in the novel. The dialogues involving Georges Lemaitre (priest and physicist who proposed the Big Bang theory), Jack Johnson (heavyweight champion), and Bugsy Siegel (gangster) are very entertaining and merge well with the rest of the novel.
Nevertheless, what I liked most is the faith of the community. They are true witnesses of Christ and are joyful and united in suffering. I disliked the scenes of violence and how the poor miners suffered and died because of their work conditions. The author brings to light the stark reality of injustice in the world and how Christians overcome evil through the power of forgiveness and love. I appreciate the way he reconciles Catholics and Protestants in this endeavor. Covering almost a century and involving several generations, the events are described so creatively and meticulously that I can easily visualize the scenes and become part of the story.
After reading Hearts Set Free, I find it hard to believe that it is fiction. I am very happy to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is excellent. The work seems to be professionally edited, and I did not discover a single grammatical error. I wholeheartedly recommend it for adults who enjoy reading genres like crime, suspense/thriller, mystery, romance, and historical fiction. However, it is not meant for children because they may find some of the violent scenes disturbing. The stories can make a good movie. Christians who wish to grow in their faith will be greatly motivated by reading this book.
Hearts Set Free
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