After kicking off the year with Loving Frank, love is still in the air in the reading room as I turn to Tim Farrington’s The Monk Downstairs. As a New York Times Notable Book for 2006, my hopes were a bit high for this book; unfortunately, there was some love lost after it.

Farrington’s story is the classic boy meets girl, with a twist. Let’s see if I can fill you all in on this variation. Boy is Michael Christopher, a monk of 20 years. Boy is disillusioned by his faith and leaves the monastic life.

Enter girl, Rebecca.

Girl is a single mother needing to rent out her mother-in-law apartment for extra income. Her ex is a pot-smoking, surfer boy who never grew up.

Boy rents apartment from girl.

They begin a sweet, but awkward friendship. Supporting characters come and go while boy and girl struggle with their respective relationships with God and one another.

Boy pulls away, girl pulls away.

Drama. Drama. Drama.

Crisis hits and boy has to step up so girl can step back and help her mother. And, at this point, you can probably guess what will happen.

At the end of this semi-chick-lit novel, I enjoyed some of the moments, but overall did not have any real connection or care for the characters. Even though Farrington delivered the happy ending, I closed the book dissatisfied.

Rating: 2 stars
Pages: 320
Genre: Fiction