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The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses): A Novel

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses): A Novel


The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses): A Novel

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4/5 (31 evaluări)
Lungime:
12 hours
Lansat:
Jun 12, 2018
ISBN:
9780062850478
Format:
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Descriere

A whimsical, moving novel about a retirement home for literary legends who spar, conjure up new stories, and almost magically change the lives of the people around them.

Alfonse Carducci was a literary giant who lived his life to excess—lovers, alcohol, parties, and literary rivalries. But now he's come to the Bar Harbor Home for the Elderly to spend the remainder of his days among kindred spirits: the publishing industry's nearly gone but never forgotten greats. Only now, at the end of his life, does he comprehend the price of appeasing every desire, and the consequences of forsaking love to pursue greatness. For Alfonse has an unshakeable case of writer's block that distresses him much more than his precarious health.

Set on the water in one of New England's most beautiful locales, the Bar Harbor Home was established specifically for elderly writers needing a place to live out their golden years—or final days—in understated luxury and surrounded by congenial literary company. A faithful staff of nurses and orderlies surround the writers, and are drawn into their orbit, as they are forced to reckon with their own life stories. Among them are Cecibel Bringer, a young woman who knows first-hand the cost of chasing excess. A terrible accident destroyed her face and her sister in a split-second decision that Cecibel can never forgive, though she has tried to forget. Living quietly as an orderly, refusing to risk again the cost of love, Cecibel never anticipated the impact of meeting her favorite writer, Alfonse Carducci—or the effect he would have on her existence. In Cecibel, Alfonse finds a muse who returns him to the passion he thought he lost. As the words flow from him, weaving a tale taken up by the other residents of the Pen, Cecibel is reawakened to the idea of love and forgiveness.

As the edges between story and reality blur, a world within a world is created. It's a place where the old are made young, the damaged are made whole, and anything is possible….

Lansat:
Jun 12, 2018
ISBN:
9780062850478
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

Terri-Lynne DeFino was born and raised in New Jersey, but escaped to the wilds of Connecticut, where she still lives with her husband and her cats. She spends most days in her loft, in her woodland cabin along the river, writing about people she’s never met. Other days, she can be found slaying monsters with her grandchildren. If you knock on her door, she’ll most likely be wearing a tiara. She’ll also invite you in and feed you, because you can take the Italian girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey Italian out of the girl.


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  • (4/5)
    I got this book from LibraryThing's Early Review program, in exchange for an honest review. I picked this book solely for the title. I wasn't sure what to expect, maybe an alternate universe sci-fi thing, but it turned out to be a very quaint romantic comedy. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it.Set in a fancy country house turned into an assisted living facility on the coast in Maine where the elderly giants of the literary world come to live out their last days. Alfonse Carducci was one of the greatest and he comes the the home not having written for many years. There he finds his muse (an orderly named Cecibel Bringer). He (and eventually a couple of his compatriots) get inspired by his muse, his biggest fan, Cecibel to right a new story and the rest of the book switches between modern times and his story set in the 50's.Not necessarily award winning work but a really nice story with interesting characters and a nice literary twist. A worthwhile read."I didn't make the arrangements with Dr. Traegar because I thought you were a suicidal murderer who needed to be to be locked away, Cecibel. I did that because you did."8/10 S: 8/18/18 - 8/29/18 (12 Days)
  • (4/5)
    The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses) is a home for only writers to,live out their final days. We meet several and learn their stories. The characters are quirky and fun with lots of mysterious secrets. The writers get together and write their great book. A sweet story about love and forgiveness.
  • (4/5)
    This charming novel contains two stories: one about the retirement home and its residents and staff, the other the love story the residents write together, inspired by young Cecibel Bringer, the caregiver and muse of the most famous resident of all. Writers and the writing life, a beautiful old home in Maine,and two love stories make this a lovely entertainment.
  • (4/5)
    Book club book- enjoyable read. Story within a story (I liked the story being written in the story best!) Being Italian I also enjoyed many of the ethnic references.
  • (3/5)
    The title of The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) intrigued me when I ran across it in my Library’s online catalog of audiblebooks. I could easily picture in my mind what such a place might look like, and I could just imagine the kind of conversations that would be heard there every day. But as it turns out, even though I was pretty much right on both counts, I still didn’t really enjoy this one very much. And that is mainly because the novel being written within Bar Harbor Retirement Home has such a predictable romance-novel plot, that I dreaded those long sections of the book during which that story is told.Alfonse Carducci was one of the literary giants of his day, but now he’s come home to die in the retirement home he and his male lover designed both as a retreat for themselves and as a place that famous writers, agents, editors, etc. could spend their final months and years in the company of likeminded people. Alfonse’s life has been one of excess, and now he is paying the price for the reckless way he lived his life. However, it is his chronic writer’s block that depresses Alfonse even more than his shaky health. But things take a sudden turn for the better when Cecibel Bringer, a young orderly, comes into Alfonse’s life.Cecibel has emotional baggage of her own due to an accident that left her so disfigured that she never allows anyone – even her favorite author in all of the world, Alfonse Carducci - to see the ruined side of her face. The ever-flirtatious Alphonse almost immediately begins to work his magic on Cecibel, and as the young woman falls more and more in love with the old man, she begins to lose her self-consciousness about her appearance. At the same time, Cecibel unknowingly works her own magic on the elderly author. Now, Alphonse has found his muse, freeing him to co-author a novel alongside two other retired “giants” of his day.This is the origin of the “novel within a novel” that I found to be too predictable and by-the-numbers to be represented as the work of three of the supposed greatest writers ever produced by this country. And when the fictious novel is given as much space as the actual novel, and the plots of the two began to intersect closely, I lost interest in both of them.Bottom Line: This one disappointed me, but that is probably because I am not even remotely a fan of romance novels; fans of that genre are likely to have an entirely different take on this one. Too, I expected a very different novel than the one I got, and the letdown resulting from my high hopes crashing to the ground may very well have amplified my level of disappointment in Bar Harbor Retirement Home. I suspect that the author knows her target audience well - but I am not one of them.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book. During some parts it reads like a Harlequin romance, but the story and the ending more than compensate.
  • (2/5)
    This novel tells a story within a story, the story within made up by the retired authors who live inn the home, and inspired by one of their caregivers, who we are told over and over and over has a mangled face, but only one side of it. Unfortunately, both stories bored me. I could feel no connection to the characters, at least for the most part. And the story was way too drawn out and full of cliches. Just tell the story, and move on, please. I did finish the book, but I could have spent my time with much, much better books.
  • (3/5)
    It took me a surprising amount of time to find the rhythm of this book. But I liked the premise of an old folks home for writers, staffed by broken souls. And the idea of muses that inspired them in the past and present helping to shape a story shared by many (though initially it was that shared story that drew me in finally, before the main narration did.)Anyhow, it was an interesting concept, even if I was distracted mid read by other books so that it took me a while to finish it. I ultimately liked it, but didn't love it, hence the star rating..Thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for sending a copy of the book my way.
  • (5/5)
    This is a novel that will stay with me, and others, well beyond the reading of the final page. A testament to life and the human spirit, written in some of the loveliest prose I've read in a long time.
  • (4/5)
    I ended up enjoying this book much more than I initially thought I would. It starts out a little slow but once it gets going it's a very sweet story - actually 2 stories. Part of the book takes place in the Pen - a retirement home for authors, editors or anyone in the literary world. It focuses on several of the residents as well as Cecibel, a troubled woman who works as an orderly and several other people who work there. The other part of the book is a story being written by several of the residents - that was my favorite part of the book. I would love to read an entire novel about Cecilia, Aldo, Enzo and Tressa. This was a sweet and touching book. I received a copy from LibraryThing.
  • (3/5)
    While very well written and thoughtful, this book just did not engage me like I had hoped. I was so excited for the Bar Harbor setting, life by the sea, etc., but Bar Harbor actually is on the periphery of characters and the setting could be anywhere. I never resonated with the older folks and thought the younger people were a bit contrived, especially Cecibel, with her disfigurement (which as readers, were are clobbered over the head with). Maybe the author simply took on too much to make everyone likable. This might resonate a bit more with readers of romance or "chick lit."
  • (5/5)
    There are a handful of books that have pulled me in and found a place in my soul. This book is one of them. This is a beautiful story about aging and relationships, and how our view of relationships changes as we get older. It may be because I am older than I care to admit, but I loved the older characters and how they approached life as it waned. The bond formed between Alfonse, a famous writer who is dying, and Cecibel, the young caregiver who is both emotionally and physically scarred, is the centerpiece of the book. There is also a story within a story, as Cecibel inspires Alfonse to write again. This quickly becomes a joint project, as three other residents with whom Alfonse had relationships become involved in the writing. Both story arcs are beautifully written. There are so many quotable lines in this book. It has been a long time since I read something that touched me so personally. Terry-Lynne DeFino demonstrates an extraordinary gift in exploring human nature and the nobleness of old age. Yet it is not a book about or for the elderly. There is something here for almost everyone: romance, mystery, pathos. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.Thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for the opportunity to be an early reviewer of this book.
  • (3/5)
    As both a reader and a writer, this book about a retirement home for writers immediately caught my interest. The concept is original and thoroughly entertaining. But the book as a whole didn't work as well for me as I'd have liked.The writing immediately hooked me. DeFino has a literary approach, with sentences I loved as much for their beauty as for the way they moved the story forward. The characters in the main story were my absolutely favorite part. They're quirky and fun, with mysterious secrets that keep you wondering about their pasts. They're each fascinating in their own way, and I wanted to spend time getting to know them.And that brings me to the other aspect that I didn't like so much. These aging writers begin writing their last great book together. That book-in-progress is included in its entirety and becomes a second story of its own, essentially a book within this book. It's a period romance, which is a genre I wouldn't opt to read. I found those characters less interesting and the story far more predictable. I'm not a fan of the story within a story tactic. I felt the main story too often lost its impact because we kept jumping into the second story. Consequently, neither story felt as complete as it should have. Plus, we already had a lot of characters in the main story, and adding a bunch more with a second story just created a muddled mess. The end of the main story is emotional and, while compelling, would have been far more powerful had the entire book remained with these characters.*I received a copy from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for my honest review.*
  • (3/5)
    First, thank you to William Morrow Publishers/LibraryThing for an ARC of this delightful read by Terry Lynne DeFino. Nicely written story of famous writers living their final days in a retirement home in New England. Somewhat hard to follow at times, jumping back and forth in time, but the story is good. I could put it down, didn't always hold my interest, but liked the characters all.
  • (3/5)
    I imagined Authors behaving in the style they wrote. What a fascinating read ** I won this in a GOODREADS giveaway!
  • (4/5)
    The Bar Harbor Retirement Home is a story of love and lust among four old friends and three employees. The concept of the tale and the author's writing enabled me to stay with the book. I found several of the relationships difficult to imagine in reality.Three patients are literary giants of a bygone era become reacquainted and start to collaborate and taking turns being the voice of a lover's triangle. The book within a book is a predictable tale and becomes extremely boring.The interaction between the three employees is the most intriguing of the book. Sal, Cecibel, and Fin have secrets that hide their pain which bonds them. The reader feels for all three and less for the literary giants. Enjoy the book for their story.
  • (5/5)
    Novels involving writers, books, libraries, and bookstores have long fascinated me. In The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And their Muses)Terri-Lynne DeFino has blended much of this literary lore into an interesting and fun read. According to the jacket, DeFino was born and raised in New Jersey, but she moved to Connecticut where she lives with her husband and her cats. She wrote a series of genre romance novels, and this is her first literary novel.Cecibel is a young woman who survived a horrible auto crash, which left one side of her face seriously disfigured. She is self-conscious about her wound, and she tries to hide it with a “Veronica Lake hair style.” She works in the Bar Harbor Retirement Home. Cornelius Traegar was a wealthy writer, and he developed the idea of the Bar Harbor home. Only those with a background of writing, editing, and other literary pursuits are eligible. When Cornelius dies, he leaves his exquisite private suite to his friend, Alfonse Carducci. Alfonse pursued, and is pursued by many women, including several women now residing at Bar Harbor. Cecibel admires Alfonse and she develops a crush on him. Olivia is a well-known novelist who resides at Bar Harbor, where she self-medicates with marijuana to relieve a seriously painful condition. This novel has some wonderfully funny passages.Dr. Kintz watches over his patients who could, at times, be cantankerous. DeFino writes, “‘If you insist on calling me Olivia,’ Mrs. Peppernell said evenly, ‘I shall call you Richard. Or Dick, if that is your preference.’ // ‘Would it make you happy to call me Richard?” // ‘It would make me happy if you would use the title I earned with sixty-two years of marriage. And it would make me even happier if you would stop speaking in the royal ’we.’ Now go away, Dick. I am finished being monitored for today’” // ‘Good day.’ He bowed his head. If he glanced Cecibel’s way, she didn’t know. She turned her face to the wall before he could. […] Poor Dr. Kintz. Only a week in the Pen and he still had no idea what he was in for. Those who left made sure not to tell. Those who stayed knew better. // ‘Fetch my medicine, will you dear?’” (2). The “Pen” is the nickname the residents adopted.When Alfonse arrives, he locks himself in the magnificent suite left to him. Mrs. Peppernell is his fist visitor. DeFino writes, “‘You have to open your door sooner or later, Alfie. You know better than to hope I’ll just go away’ […] Laboring to the door, he took deep, even breaths. He rested his hand on the knob. Shoulders as straight he could get them, he opened the door. ‘Livy.’ Her name gushed out of him in a breath he hope she heard as the joy it was, and not his failing lungs. ‘You gorgeous creature. Come in, come in.’ // Old. So old. Weren’t they all? But Alfonse saw her still that menace with the red hair and whipcrack blue eyes, transposed over the frail frame. He recalled curves and softness and a willingness to let him explore every lovely inch” (10).Of course, his friends all wondered if Alfonse had one last great story in his waning days. Terri-Lynne DeFino’s Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And their Muses) is as charming and fun a read as anyone could want. 5 Stars
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this concept of literary giants in their final years combining forces to write one last book. It was a fun read with intertwining stories, supportive relationships and light-hearted squabbling. The residents brought together in the Bar Harbor Retirement Home, each have their own life accomplishments which blend meaningfully with their caregivers with issues of their own to resolve. Great character development throughout. The endings (yes, there are two of them because there is a story within the story) were a bit abrupt, yet managed to wrap up loose ends.
  • (5/5)
    There are some novels that as you begin reading draw you in to a special world created by the author. In this case, the reader will reside for a time at The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers in Bar Harbor, Maine. The setting is all the more captivating for those of us who have had the delight of visiting and experiencing Bar Harbor, Maine. The reader will be introduced to literary greats that are now in various stages of ill health. The reader will also be introduced to some of their caretakers who have come to live and work at this facility for unique reasons that are revealed through their interactions together and also during their daily care for their patients.The “king” in residence, Alfonse Carducci, thought he had writer’s block but as he picks up pen and paper, words begin to flow and now he is fearful that his time will end before the final pages are written. His darling “queen” of another lifetime, wants to feel the joy again of writing and intercedes to contribute in her own opportune way. This writing becomes an exquisite story within a story and one realizes that they are in the midst of reading a magical novel. One might wonder how reading a story about retired and elderly men and women can be magical but then one must remember that just because the body fades, or the mind does not remember the hour to meet friends, or pain takes a toll in what once was possible, the human spirit can be resilient. The human spirit can be touched beyond expectation and can become an incredible story of truth as well as a story beyond only one’s imagination when creativity is nurtured by the friendship, love, and understanding of others.Not since reading “Whisper Beach” by Shelley Noble have I been as engrossed in an author’s exploration of the essence of the human character. In a careful but notable way the novel expresses that the life journey of authors and editors may have taken totally different courses even within the same profession and yet at the end of their lives they come together respectfully and provide a safe haven for one another. Caretakers (orderlies and doctors too) have come from totally different experiences but their care and their presence bring comfort and compassion to their patients and one even becomes the much needed muse. Their bonds of friendship bring magical moments and highlights to empty hours. As they care for others they also reach out and encourage each other. There are some novels that have a beauty beyond the page. This is the artistry of words not to be missed.“Words can be like x-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” ~ Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World ~English critic & novelist (1894 - 1963).Terri-Lynne DeFino’s writing pierces the soul and provides a thoughtful novel that will stay with this reader long after the final page was read. Writing like this opens the reader’s mind and creates pictures that cannot be captured on stage or film as the words blend with the reader’s own experiences so that sometimes the novel brings romantic depths, sometimes enchantment, sometimes peels back the layers of moments lost or buried deep but never truly forgotten, and sometimes wonder in all that yet could be… This is a time that needs to be spent alone. The writer has finished her gift of artistry and now the reader begins absorbing the depth and breadth of the experience he/she is about to embark. It is an extraordinary gift. Thank you Terri-Lynne DeFino. Your gift of writing has touched my heart and pierced my soul. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this title as an “Early Reviewer” from Library Thing.
  • (4/5)
    Aesthetic and enjoyable. I chose this book because it sounded like it would have a cozy vibe. I was surprised by the relationships I discovered. There is love every which way in this book. To me it’s mostly a meditation on different ways to love a person from erased perspectives. All of these characters are either elderly or outcasts. Sometimes a little of both. There is sex and romance and wonderful friendships. Everyone has a decorated past that slowly gets revealed. The narrator of this audiobook wasn’t my favorite. At first I wasn’t sure if I would want to listen to a whole book narrated by her but I slowly warmed up to her. There’s a book within the book that I became unexpectedly attached to. It was just as intriguing to me as the main storyline. It’s a good read but a focused one.
  • (4/5)
    With this book you get two stories. One is about the retired residents and staff of the Bar Harbor Retirement Home. All the residents are former writers, publishers, and literary agents. Several of the staff are broken people who are content with their jobs tending to the residents' needs, and hiding away from the outside world. When Alfonse Carducci, a famous flamboyant writer in his day arrives to die, his effect on staff and residents alike breathes new life into the retirement home.The second one is a love story several of the residents collaborate on at a time in their lives when they thought their writing careers were behind them. Chapters of the two stories alternate and it's easy for the reader to get caught up in the flow of events and the characters lives.