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Although Farrington's plot revolves around a classic story of unlikely lovers, there's no sappiness or clichés in his highly polished narrative. Indeed, his vulnerable characters and realistic dialogue will feel especially poignant for grown-up lovers. When the big night arrives and the couple must decide whether Mike will sleep over, Rebecca speaks for all single mothers.
"This is not just about us anymore," she said. "If that freaks you out, then please, please bail now. Because if you are going to stay here tonight, you're going to have to have breakfast with my daughter. You're going to have to be a decent human being. You're going to have to be a man."
In Mike we see what it means to bring spiritual strength to a relationship. When Rebecca suddenly becomes sharp and anxious, he does not retreat, nor does he paw at her for reassurance. Instead he knows how to sit with her, as if in meditation, staying present while not getting caught up in her fear. And in Rebecca we see what it means to speak honestly to a lover. This all may sound too lofty and preachy to be a juicy read, but Farrington has the quirky characters and the masterful skills to make this a highly entertaining and inspiring tale of adult love. --Gail Hudson
The Monk Downstairs A Novel
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