Some Assembly Required
Lynn Kiele Bonasia
Touchstone, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Joan Burton
ose Newak was content with her life. At thirty-nine years of age she was in a long term relationship with Martin, and had a job writing safety instructions for appliances. She thought she was safe, until one day Martin confessed to an infidelity. When her world changed, Rose did something totally out of character. She packed up and moved to the small town of Nauset, Cape Cod to heal her pain. She found a job at the local paper as a reporter, and settled in to meet her new eccentric neighbours.
ose rents a cottage on the beach from Valeria, a friendly, big hearted woman, who instantly bonds with her. At Valeria's, Rose meets Noel, a young autistic savant who is being taken care of by different families in the town. Valeria speaks of a daughter and granddaughter, but Rose later learns they do not exist. Cooper, the feisty, hard nosed lady next door, takes care of Noel full time. Her own son Lino disappeared years ago and Cooper has never heard from him again. Valeria and Lino dated in high school, and Cooper feels Valeria is the reason for his leaving. Even though Valeria and Cooper have their differences they both encourage and support Noel in his talent for painting.
mpressed with his work, Rose writes a story about Noel for the paper. It is picked up by USA Today and noticed by Noel's uncle, Simon Beadle, who hasn't seen Noel since he was five years old. Recuperating from a boating accident in Florida, Simon heads home to Nauset to reconnect with his nephew. When he arrives in town, people are afraid he has come to take Noel away. He must prove his good intentions to Valeria and Cooper before he can see Noel. Simon and Rose are attracted to each other, but Rose is wary of Simon's alcoholic past.
imon sets out to find a job and prove himself to Noel and to the town of Nauset. Mike Eldridge, the local sheriff, is also attracted to Rose - Simon knows Mike from their high school days, and is warned to leave her alone. The town is boasting a secret for their birthday celebration, and a new mansion being built on the waterfront has the locals upset. Since the start of construction, Eldridge has been acting nervous and distracted, and Rose feels he is hiding a secret from the past.
ome Assembly Required
, which is full of warmth and eccentric quirky characters, is a great debut novel for Bonasia. It grabbed me from the first page and had me wanting more. Noel is a gifted painter but his greatest gift is bringing the people of Nauset together.
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