FeaturedChristian Fiction

The Church of The Lighted Window


Loved it! 😍

Subtle and intense, this piercing and provocative novel takes a deep dive into some of life's most essential questions.

Why is Kyle Getty in a mental hospital? To what end? For what purpose?

Kyle Getty is thirty-eight years old. He's a commercial real estate broker. Father. Husband. He suddenly finds himself a patient at Fallbrooke Mental Health Clinic via court order. In fact, most of the action in Tony Faggioli’s The Church of the Lighted Window takes place in the clinic as Kyle battles regret, dismay, disbelief, and memories in this piercing and provocative novel.

Kyle is admitted to Fallbrooke after he severely beats a guy who accosted a young disabled man. Grieving the loss of his dad to cancer and his recent divorce, Kyle is overwhelmed by a sense of sorrow. He feels like “crying and raging all at once,” a feeling he dubs “The Bitters.” But he’s determined not to leave the clinic, even if he could, until he discovers the answers to why he’s there.

Later, Kyle learns that although he thought he admitted himself voluntarily and can leave any time he wants, that’s not the case. He finds out, belatedly, that a double signature is required for his release. Kyle’s self-absorbed mother and his ex-wife, Abby, are the most likely candidates. But neither is particularly promising. Kyle also learns that the mountain of paperwork he signed upon admittance allows the clinic to use both traditional and “experimental therapy.”

All Kyle can think about is the futility of life and death. His “month long” stay lasts more than a year.

Parts of the story are told in flashback. A core theme of the book comes from a conversation his dad recalls from his youth. After a deer hunt, his father realizes that “the giving and taking of life is a God-only thing.” Kyle’s dad runs over to a friend’s house, remembering that the mom there has a Bible. She tells him: “Young man, I want you to remember something. I have given God a million reasons not to love me. None of them changed his mind.”

Roaming the halls of Fallbrooke later, Kyle finds a stained glass window and is drawn to its beauty. He slowly realizes that learning to talk to people is only half the equation in his search for wholeness. Later, Kyle muses that it wasn’t cancer that killed his dad. It was loneliness. He realizes that the only true way out of the prison of the human mind is through the soul.

The Church of the Lighted Window is a solid story with strong writing. The author excels at laying out a trail of plot bread crumbs that may not appear to lead anywhere at first. But he surprises you by collecting and connecting the crumbs later in unusual and unforeseen ways, such as Cinel’s dream of a garden.

The story is filled with colorful and memorable characters who will surprise you. It’s also about hurts and triumphs. Hopes and disappointments. Peace, perfect peace. And the book that “makes books of us all.”

Without giving too much away, let’s just say the final chapter is epic.

Kindly note that The Church of the Lighted Window isn’t a quick read. It’s not the kind of book you skip through merrily or skim at warp speed. It's a deep dive into some deep and essential questions. It’s subtle and intense. Casual readers may find it a bit hard to follow due to back-and-forth time frames. But those willing to invest some time and effort will find much richness here. Indeed, adult readers who enjoy thoughtful, evocative Christian fiction and a Job-esque soliloquy will appreciate The Church of the Lighted Window.

So if you’re looking for a light and frothy read of the spun sugar type, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for an introspective and absorbing story that asks the tough questions while avoiding trite cliches and canned answers, check out The Church of the Lighted Window.

My Rating: 3.5

Reviewed by

Lifelong bibliophile. Library Board Member. Select book reviews featured on my blog, Goodreads, and Amazon. I'm a frank but fair reviewer, averaging 400+ books/year in a Wide Variety of genres on multiple platforms. Over 940 published reviews.


About the author

Anthony Faggioli was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Southern California, where he majored in Public Administration. He’s married, has two children, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. view profile

Published on March 17, 2023

Published by

70000 words

Genre: Christian Fiction

Reviewed by