Tuesday, January 26, 2021




2020 TopShelf Book Award First Place Winner for Religious Fiction

Foreword Reviews 2019 Silver Award Winner for Religious Fiction

Seven Lives Inexorably Intertwined. Over Eighty-Six Years. 

That Will Bring a Revelation Beyond What Any of Them Could Imagine.

The Alaska Territory, 1925. When Yura Noongwook’s husband abandons her and her thirteen-year-old son, she vows to win him back and destroy the woman who stole his heart. They embark on an epic cross-country quest that leads them to the Nevada desert, where they meet a man who has turned into the last thing anyone expected him to become . . .

David Gold. Reno, 1930. A Bible-school dropout known as the Pummelin’ Preacher. His boxing career is fading, just like his faith. But then a former call girl shows up, tells him about the rag-tag congregation she’s part of; how their pastor was murdered. And that the Spirit is moving and David’s destiny is to lead their tiny flock.

Las Vegas, 2011. Cable TV star Tim Faber is an atheist bent on proving God is only alive in people’s imaginations. But Joan Reed, his producer, is trying to recapture the faith of her youth. And both of them are driven to unravel a mystery surrounding the Big Bang theory, never dreaming the answer will forever change their lives.

To do that, they have to meet with the now 99-year-old Luke Noongwook and David Gold’s grandson, Daniel.

The veil is being pulled back, but none of them are prepared for what they’ll find on the other side.

"Uplifting and compelling . . . a powerful and inspiring novel.”
—Foreword Clarion Reviews

"Bold and forthright writing that would set any heart on fire."
—Christian blogger Miranda A. Uyeh

"Lederman’s powerful debut interlaces three stories that span nearly a century and are tied together by a church of outcasts in Las Vegas . . . Readers of inspirational fiction will love this moving story that affirms the power of God's mercy."—Publisher's Weekly

Book Details

Title: Hearts Set Free

Author: Jess Lederman

Genre: Christian-themed literary fiction

Publisher: Azure Star (March 12, 2019)

Print length: 400 pages


A few of your favorite things: my collection of hardcover editions of George MacDonald’s novels; my piano.
Things you need to throw out: books and sheet music I’ll never look at again (which of course I need to donate to the local library!).

Things you love about writing: the wonderful feeling when you’re convinced that you’ve pulled off a scene exactly the way you wanted to—everything feels right, reading it for the hundredth time still makes you laugh and cry, and you’re sure every reader will just love it!
Things you hate about writing: that sinking feeling when you’re convinced what you’ve just spent days, weeks, months—yes, sometimes even years—writing just isn’t working at all, when you wonder whether you have any talent at all!

Easiest thing about being a writer:
getting ideas.

Hardest thing about being a writer: putting in the long hours to bring that idea to life.

Things you love about where you live: as someone who spent many winters in the Northeast and Midwest, the wonderfully temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest.
Things that make you want to move: too much rain!

Things you never want to run out of: Dannon Coffee Yogurt and Cheerios.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Gummy bears.

Favorite foods: Lamb biryani and my wife’s Chinese hot pot.
Things that make you want to throw up: my wife’s spicy duck neck and duck feet

Favorite music: Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas and worship songs by my Alaskan friend Joel Stamoolis.
Music that make your ears bleed: most rap music.

Things you always put in your books: references to or actual quotations from Scripture.

Things you never put in your books: explicit sex.

Things to say to an author: here’s how your novel made me feel; here’s what I liked, and here’s what I didn’t care for.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: why don’t your write something like Harry Potter?

Favorite places you’ve been: Paris, France; Driggs, Idaho; Wasilla, Alaska.

Places you never want to go to again: Las Vegas.

Best thing you’ve ever done: become a follower—however deficient!—of Christ Jesus.

Biggest mistake: following the ways of the world.



A graduate with a degree in music from Columbia University, Jess Lederman is an author of Christian-themed fiction who lives with his wife and two young sons in the Pacific Northwest.

He is currently at work on a novel that begins in the last days of the Wild West and ends in Las Vegas in 1955. When Jess is not writing or chasing his young sons around, he can usually be found at the piano playing Chopin nocturnes for his wife, Ling.

Connect with Jess:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

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