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The Monk Upstairs


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About the Author

Tim Farrington is the author of Lizzie's War, The Monk Downstairs, --a New York Times Notable Book--and The Monk Upstairs, as well as the critically acclaimed novels The California Book of the Dead and Blues for Hannah.


Gentle humor leavens the weightier themes of trust, religion and second chances in this satisfying sequel to The Monk Downstairs (2002). Tough-as-nails divorcee Rebecca Martin eases into married life with former monk and tenant Mike Christopher while she wonders just what they've gotten themselves into. Her pot-smoking ex-husband is trying to reform and be a responsible father, but his inability to follow through adds extra tension to Rebecca and Mike's newlywed life. Farrington beautifully renders the touching relationships between Mike and his young stepdaughter, Mary Martha, and his mother-in-law, Phoebe, whose mental acuity is steadily declining after a stroke in the previous novel. Mike's struggle to reconcile his contemplative nature with his new responsibilities (and Rebecca's disdain for religion) is engagingly portrayed as escapes to the attic to meditate. When Mary Martha decides she wants to attend mass with Mike, Rebecca's conflicts intensify; "It wasn't that she was opposed to God, per se. She just didn't want His damn church screwing with her daughter's head." Farrington has a knack for unusual descriptions, such as mid-week morning mass, a "wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am affair, like framing work in carpentry.... They left the interior decoration and finish work for Sundays." A poignant death scene ensures readers will reach for the Kleenex. Farrington's talent blossoms in this engaging novel. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"A fun, lively novel about what happens to a couple after the initial glow of love."--Library Journal
"A rare realistic portrait of a romantic relationship between two complicated, funny, loving adults."--Booklist
"An enjoyable read with interesting and engaging characters who spur us to think more seriously about love, faith, death."--Spirituality and Health magazine
"Consistently witty and utterly charming..."--Washington Post Book World
"Farrington writes with deft humor and poignancy about human relationships and the quirks of the human heart."--Lolly Winston, author of Good Grief
"I am caught and held firm by Tim Farrington's tender treatment of his characters and their humanity."--Jennifer Lauck, New York Times Bestselling author of Blackbird

How does a couple become a couple, especially when one person has been segregated from society for a long period of time? In a delightful follow-up to The Monk Downstairs, Farrington continues the story of Mike and Rebecca, who are getting married. Mike, a former monk, had been renting from Rebecca when they fell in love. Now, as this novel opens, Rebecca is standing in the back of the church, but there's no groom. Rebecca manages to find him and the ceremony goes off without a hitch. They honeymoon in Hawaii, but Mike is still wrapped up in the contemplative life, rising early to meditate and attend mass. Reconciling his new life with the old one will take some doing. In addition to acclimating as newlyweds, Mike and Rebecca must deal with the impending death of Rebecca's mother. At the same time, Rebecca's daughter, Mary Martha, has asked to join Mike on his trips to early morning mass. This is a fun, lively novel about what happens to a couple after the initial glow of love. Recommended especially for the fans of the author's previous book.-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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