From Publishers Weekly
After her debut, Some Assembly Required
, Bonasia once again mines her Cape Cod upbringing with a cast of coastal smalltown characters. Mary Hopkins is the owner of the Clambake, a typical Cape seafood restaurant whose business ebbs and flows with the summer crowd. The middle-aged Mary has pulled away from people since the death of her husband years before, remaining close only to her great-aunt, Lovey, her last remaining relative. When a summer waitress dies in a tragic car accident, Mary is left with uncomfortably familiar feelings of guilt and remorse, and Aunt Lovey's rapid deterioration from Alzheimer's pushes Mary to the limit. She is feeling completely alone when her ex, Dan Bassett, walks back into her life after a 12-year absence. She welcomes his support, but the relationship also unearths a secret about her marriage. As she makes her way through the summer, Mary finds strength and compassion in the unlikeliest of places: the grandmother of the deceased waitress, her aging neighbor, and even her crew of young summer employees. Bonasia delivers a delightful, if elementary and predictable, story of redemption and love. (June)
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As with her first novel, Some Assembly Required (2008), Bonasia has set Summer Shift on her home turf of Cape Cod. The story centers on Mary Hopkins, the owner of a local clam bar, who is still laden with feelings of guilt surrounding her husband’s death in a car accident more than a decade past. Over the course of a single summer, events combine to draw Mary out among the living again, including a second chance at love. Bonasia is not a particularly suspenseful writer—few revelations or the ultimate outcome will surprise the reader—and she juggles one too many subplots. Yet she has a gift for vivid and inventive descriptions and a clear affection for and understanding of her characters, who come across as flesh-and-blood individuals as opposed to typical small-town eccentrics. It’s impossible not to root for Mary, particularly as she copes with a beloved great-aunt’s onset of Alzheimer’s, which Bonasia handles with tenderness and poignancy. --Patty Wetli