You never know with a book do you? If anyone had told me how much I would mourn the passing of a series if books about a 15th century monastery and the people who live in and around it, I would have struggled to believe it. Yet here it is - the last in the Hawk and the Dove series by Pen Wilcock and I for one will certainly miss it.
The monks are not there as an excuse to talk about ideas. They are presented as fully rounded human beings - with all the faults and lovely things that humans have, examined in equal measure. Father Peregrine - initially misunderstood but eventually adored is a personal favourite. First and foremost, these are great stories where lots of things happen to people you really care about. Then you start to see how life has shaped these people and continues to do so. Their faith in God is often tested but God is also is their bedrock.
In this final instalment, a novice goes missing. His absence affects everyone as they worry and pray for him. However, life goes on and the various members of the monastery continue to fulfil their very necessary responsibilities in the group.
In some ways this quite a courageous way to finish a series. An awful lot of stuff happens in the previous books. In this - not so much. You get to read about disciplines and individuals and their place in the community. If you are interested in these books, I would suggest that you don't start here. (Why would you? It's the last one in the series!) I would start with the first one (unsurprisingly) and I really do recommend the life affirming people of St Alcuin to you.