Bolivar Heights

When Failure Is Not Final

Christian - Romance - Contemporary
164 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Bolivar Heights: When Failure Is Not Final is a unique contemporary romance by Leighton Kramer. The book brings us inside the tumultuous life of a pastor with all its ups and downs. Clay Keane lost his mother at a young age. As a boy, he experienced a spiritual awakening and becomes a gifted preacher and the founding pastor of a South Pennsylvanian country church. Married, with one son, the story chronicles his spiritual life as he goes through a ministerial and emotional collapse. Clay finds himself amidst a scandal and left his family and parishioners in hopes of finding himself. It is an enlightening read, narrated with anecdotes taken from the scriptures, and includes biblical personalities and evangelists.

Leighton Kramer’s Bolivar Heights is an intriguing love story. It’s like taking a glimpse into a pastor's soul as he goes through a spiritual journey, and as Clay Keane goes through his darkest days, one can almost feel the turmoil that he is going through. Beautifully written with vivid images, it reminds us that life is about something greater than all of us. As a minister and a graduate with a Bachelor's in Religious Education, Kramer is highly credible. Some may find the narrative complicated because the story has many layers and is written in parallel to biblical truths but it feels refined. It was when I turned the last page that I truly appreciated its message. Ultimately, Bolivar Heights is an inspiring story of redemption.

Pikasho Deka

Preacher and evangelist Leighton Kramer brings readers a touching tale of love and faith in Bolivar Heights: When Failure Is Not Final. Reverend Clay Keane had it all. Apart from being an influential preacher in the southern Pennsylvania town of B, he had a loving and loyal wife and a son who miraculously survived and recovered from a freak accident when he was young. So what made him throw it all away? When Clay unexpectedly went missing, much to the dismay of his family and congregation, he pursued the love of his childhood sweetheart in Queens, Maryland, who he believed had been abused by her father for a long time. But the question remained, what made him backslide on his faith and abandon the love of a good and honest woman?

Leighton Kramer examines the fickle nature of the human heart through this tragic tale of a young pastor's struggle to balance his faith and desires in a world full of temptation. This is slow-burn storytelling at its finest. Drenched in biblical analogies and stories, Bolivar Heights is an exploration of the human condition through the lens of the Christian faith. Kramer's prose has an almost lyrical quality to it that makes the narrative an absolute joy to read. Clay Keane is a flawed man, who becomes colder in his soul and goes astray. Yet, in the end, it is his faith that embraces him with open arms and offers him the chance of redemption. Highly recommended to literary fiction aficionados.

Manik Chaturmutha

Bolivar Heights by Leighton Kramer is a uniquely inspirational story that delves into love, hope, spirituality, despair, and overcoming fear and loss. With heartfelt insight into Clay Keane's life, as he battles with his religion and faith, this story takes you on a tour to discover the grim realities and problems of the ecclesiastical world viewed through a spiritual, religious, and personal lens. Ultimately, we see his fall and, hopefully, his restoration in the one life he will ever live. With skillful storytelling, Kramer brings the character of Clay Keane and others to life profoundly and intimately. He also weaves a tale in which love overcomes fear, hope overcomes despair, and the incredible human spirit rises to embrace spiritual renewal, revival, and reconciliation in the face of devastating loss and personal destruction.

This is a touching look at one man's life as he struggles with his faith. Leighton Kramer is a brilliant writer and preacher, and we can see the effect of his profession on his style. It feels as if we are being told the story orally and he creates an atmosphere of grandeur and compelling quality, adding depth and emotion. Bolivar Heights weaves a narrative of intrigue through a succession of stories and anecdotes that are colorful, and lyrical, but also a little sad. This is a spiritually motivating journey portraying the depth of human emotions characterized by simplicity, clear expression, and strength of thought. I recommend this book for those who love to find solace in religion and stories that display the strength of the spiritual mind.

Michelle Robertson

Clay Keane is a preacher, a highly respected man of God, whom some might say is one of the absolute best. Some might assume that this vocation would give him a life of rest, ease, and peace. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, however, and no one knows when evil can grasp hold of someone. All it takes is one distraction; your life can be turned upside down. Clay soon finds himself in a dire situation that brings scandal to himself, his colleagues, his family, and his parishioners. When Satan senses a weakness, he quickly takes the opportunity to strike. Can Clay trust in God's plan and the truth, and lead himself back into the graces of the Lord? Find out more in Bolivar Heights by Leighton Kramer.

Leighton Kramer's Bolivar Heights is intriguing and inspirational with powerful messages for us throughout the story. No person on earth is shielded from failure, pain, and the hardships of life, not even a man in ministry. Kramer writes with passion and conviction. He conveys that a spiritual battle can happen to any of us, that evil is real, and that the consequences caused by this evil can be devastating, not only for the person experiencing it but also for those around them. You will recognize scripture and many biblical characters such as Samson and Peter. A non-believer can still benefit from this story, as although spiritual, it makes the mistakes and hardship of the main character relatable on an emotional, human level. This is a powerful book, and although a bit confusing at first, do not let this discourage you from experiencing the incredible messages within.

Rabia Tanveer

Bolivar Heights: When Failure Is Not Final by Leighton Kramer is a story of love and spirituality. The story follows the life and challenges of Clay Keane, a man who struggles with his faith as he battles through life and all its hurdles. We experience all the stages of Clay’s life as he seeks guidance and grace from heaven. Through leadership, challenges from his colleagues, and hard times with his family, Clay seeks guidance from God when everything appears to be going against him. All Clay has to do is keep hold of his faith. Can he do it? Or will he fail?

I love stories that are meant to be enjoyed by people of all faiths. While the story has a biblical undertone to it, the overall message is spiritual. The narrative is simple yet sermon-like, which surprised me. The pace is normal, not too fast or too slow but perfect for Clay to grow and accept his current position in the church and community. The narrative style is soothing. Even when Clay faces a hard time, there is hardly a moment when he panics. He comes close to it but never loses control of the situation. The opening sentence of the first chapter encapsulates the whole purpose and meaning of the message. The ending leaves a feeling of satisfaction at finding love in God, accepting what He has decided, and enjoying the blessings.