Erryn reviews ‘Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkin Series Book 1)’ by N.R. Walker. The book was re-released on September 26, 2017 and is 140 pages. The audiobook was released April 18, 2019 by Love Lane Books Limited. It is 3 hrs and 10 mins and is narrated by Nick J. Russo.
Why Erryn read: It’s N.R. Walker – the question was how fast I could jump on it.
Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?
A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his 40th birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thinks he knows everything about architecture, about life.
Cooper Jones, 22 years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.
Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.
Definition: Retrofit. To substitute new or modernized parts or systems for older equipment. Fit in or on an existing structure such as an older house. Substitute new or modernized parts or equipment for older ones.
I am a huge N.R. Walker fan. I discovered her with the Red Dirt Heart series and was hooked. I’ve snapped up just about everything since. I hadn’t read her Thomas Elkin series but had heard great things from other fans so the moment the audio came up for sale, I grabbed it.
And am so glad I did.
This is one of N.R.’s older books and although the writing and story hold up, I found it missing some of the depth from her more recent books. Nothing to take away from my enjoyment, however.
The book, like Red Dirt Heart, is told entirely from one point-of-view – Thomas’. Helpfully, he is a fully-fleshed and strong character, so he’s able to carry the story. He’s rich, successful, recently out of the closet, and lonely. That loneliness called to me. We can have everything we’ve ever dreamed of – and great family to boot – but it can be lonely without someone special to share it with. Thomas is close to his son Ryan and enjoys a strong professional relationship with his secretary Jennifer, but that’s the extent of his personal involvements. He’s had a few short term relationships but hasn’t met the ‘one’.
He certainly doesn’t expect his son’s friend Cooper to be the ‘one’. He keeps reminding himself that Cooper is half his age, of a different generation, AND his son’s friend. Over and over he comes up with excuses why they can’t be together. Sometimes all the careful planning in the world doesn’t hold together when a force of nature like Cooper sweeps into your life. He’s eager, fresh, earnest, and hard-working. He’s attractive, fun, and diligent. And he systematically breaks down every one of Thomas’ barriers.
I love the interplay between the men. I am most definitively Gen X while my younger sister is a Millennial. She has never lived without an iPhone, a SMART television, and NETFLIX. She doesn’t even know how to use a rotary dial telephone. She’s also whip-smart and eager to make a mark in the world. Not all Gen Y and Millennials are lazy, and Cooper is beyond ambitious. He’s also a risk taker and, in the end, Thomas has to decide if he’s willing to risk everything to be with Cooper.
It was easy to fall in love with the two men and to watch them navigate the generational and power differentials. I also really liked all the architecture references in the book. Thomas often does projects involved in rehabilitating old buildings and finding new uses for them. In a way, his life is a metaphor for a retrofit project. He’s trying to make his way in the new world, rehabilitating himself and adjusting to the brave new world.
There are two more books in the series and I’m definitely hoping both of those will be made into audiobooks. I need to give a shout out to Nick J. Russo. He’s a solid narrator whose performances are always pitch-perfect. He handles the New Yorkers with ease, bringing forward a wonderful story and book. I hope he’ll be part of the next two books as well. As always, it’s easy to recommend this book.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…