Michael is a single father struggling to keep things together. His beloved wife, Vicki, died on the same day his daughter, Elizabeth was born. That was 14 years ago. He’s coped the best he knows how but he doesn’t know how to ask for help well.
Elizabeth is trying to stretch the boundaries her father has set. She challenges his roles in what she can where and doesn’t want him around her friends. Still, she is an honor student.
As part of Elizabeth’s honor society obligations she has to do community service. She and her father are going to a local Catholic church to help organize food donations. While loading food into the basement, Elizabeth spies a trapdoor and against her father’s wishes goes through it. Michael quickly follows her. At the other end, father and daughter find themselves looking out at ancient Jerusalem. Intent on helping a man being beaten, Elizabeth leaves their safe hiding place to intervene causing Michael to follow. A Roman soldier decides he wants Elizabeth. Can they find a safe refuge?
This tale has a father and daughter landing in Jerusalem during Holy week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. While there, Michael observes many Biblical happenings and actually ends up as part of them. Elizabeth, use to the freedoms of today’s society, has problems resolving herself to limited mobility and options. Helping them maneuver through this time period is a young widow named Leah.
Besides the adventures playing out in ancient times, Michael has frequent flashbacks or memories of times he spent with Vicki and other memories of his modern life. This gives you a good idea of Michael’s past and his personality. Though I didn’t understand why some of these glimpses were put in the book, I’ll assume that they serve some purpose. This is only the first book of a trilogy.
Unfortunately, I did not like the characters. Michael came across as someone who feels he’s entitled to things. He doesn’t like to deal with unpleasantness which is why he blows off Elizabeth’s teachers. While married, Vicki took care of him. He took a pay cut at work yet isn’t actively looking for another job or a second job. His dysfunctional family offers to help but instead of accepting, he alienates. Elizabeth acts like a spoiled teenager who has little respect for adults. This may be due to Michael’s over protectiveness and unwillingness to allow her to interact with her peers. He’s scared he’s going to loose her like he did Vicki. Leah seems to have money and while it’s mentioned that she sells some things in the market, she doesn’t seem to worry about giving what little she has to Michael and Elizabeth. She almost wants to be their servant, willing to do whatever she can for them and reorganizing her life to accommodate them.
While the characters did irritate me from time to time, the story was enjoyable. I don’t think it was extremely accurate historically but it was fast paced and interesting. It appeared that any hint of violence was bad and should be avoided at all costs. This included a sacrificial lamb and inferences that our military peace keeping forces are wrong.
I’m not sure who the target audience is. If Elizabeth was more the major player, I would say YA but Michael is the major player making it more of an adult book.
I will be interested to see where this story is going. Strangely, I’m not sure. This would be an excellent stand alone book as it seems complete. But I was also left with questions concerning some of the memory scenes. So, maybe it isn’t complete. Regardless, it is part of a trilogy and I’m sure the overall story will get clearer with each book.