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When a storm tears a hole in Miss Eleanor Bannister's roof, the itinerant carpenter who volunteers to repair it is so capable and charming that he remodels Miss Eleanor's life. A retired schoolteacher in the town where she's always lived, Eleanor, at age sixty-nine, finds the sudden presence of Abel Brown in her life unnerving and unsettling--and after a time, irresistible. He shakes up her fixed ideas of who she is and starts her wanting something she never imagined for herself. Amid many complications, Eleanor and Abel proceed on the fractious course of their courtship, in a novel that is never less than captivating, witty, and pointedly clear-eyed.