THE BAR HARBOR RETIREMENT HOME FOR FAMOUS WRITERS (AND THEIR MUSES)
DeFino’s latest novel is a tale that emphasizes that second chances, artistic redemption and true love — in all its forms — can come at any time and any age. DeFino has a unique gift for language that captures the nostalgia and still-sharp wit of her aging artists perfectly. However, an uneven pace and lack of exposition slows the plot and makes it difficult for readers to understand the bonds between these characters, or the choices they make fully. Nevertheless, the ending of this story packs an emotional punch that proves the success of DeFino’s work overall.
After a lifetime of indulgence and excess, writer Alfonse Carducci has arrived at the Bar Harbor Home for the Elderly, a haven for elderly writers. Aging, weak and suffering from a crippling case of writer’s block, there is little joy in Alfonse’s life — until he meets Cecibel Bringer, a young orderly at the Home. After an accident scarred her face, Cecibel sought the solace and quiet of the Home. But as the friendship between them grow, Cecibel and Alfonse begin to inspire all the residents, leading to words, stories and revelations that no one could have expected. (WILLIAM MORROW, Jun., 336 pp., $15.99)