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

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,250 ratings  ·  261 reviews
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 remaind
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ebook, 336 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,250 ratings  ·  261 reviews


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leslie hamod
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! The Bar Harbor Retirement Home is for writers only! Alphonse Carducci is one of the greats. But he evaluates the cost of appeasing all his desires while forsaking love. His greatness was of paramount importance. He has indulged in women and alcohol. One nuse, Cecebel, knows firsthand the cost off excess. An accident ruined her face and her sister, she tries to forget. She cannot find forgiveness for herself. Alphonse finds in her a muse, she awakens his passion. He begins a sto ...more
Karin Gastreich
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
DeFino's latest novel chronicles the final days of Alfonse Carducci, literary great who joins old friends and colleagues at the Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers. The idea alone would be enough to carry this novel, but DeFino gives us so much more. While Alfonse fancies himself center stage, it is his caretaker Cecibel who captures our hearts, leading the reader through an unforgettable journey of healing and redemption. There is so much to love about this book, I can't possibly cove ...more
Colleen Fauchelle
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
A book about books and authors tick
about the elderly tick
a story within a story tick
a story about aceptence no matter what you look like on the outside tick
a bit of same love sure
a love story in its many forms tick

I really enjoyed this story.
Kate ☀️ Olson
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for this free review copy!

This one took a bit for me to get into, but once I got sucked in, I was IN. The story within a story was fascinating to me, and I got majorly invested in the embedded drama/romance the group of retired writers were working on together. And then I got super interested in whether the story would ever get finished and if it would ever get published......and so on and so forth. Probably the part I was least invested in was that of the em
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Kerin
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! A strong 4.5. There is a place in Bar Harbor where authors and literary giants go to live out out their final days. Cecibel is an orderly who is disfigured from a horrible accident. When Alfonse comes to stay he finds himself drawn to this young woman and their lives begin to intertwine and a new book is started. I don’t believe in revealing the entire plot so I will end here. This book was so unexpectedly good, the characters are well developed and kept me turning pages!
Joan Bannan
May 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Not a page turner for me. As I writer, I thought I might gain some insight into great writing minds and techniques, but when I got to Chapter 7, I was still not sure what the story was.

I often read on my, "bike to nowhere." I need a book that calls me back so I don't procrastinate aerobic exercise. Plus, the last time I was reading, I found myself skipping over profanity and sexual TMI. Not for me, but fans of detailed sexual intimacy may enjoy this novel.
Terri
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this one and enjoyed both the story within a story and the contemporary story happening inside the nursing home. The ending felt a little pat and things were tied up by plot points that came out of nowhere so the coda at the end felt a bit tacked on but overall this was a sweet, touching, thoughtful story of growing older and facing mortality with grace and rage, intentionality and helplessness intertwined.
Lynn Pribus
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not very generous with 5 ***** but I haven't given any in a long time and this engaging book just tickled me. It was sad, sweet, sensual, amusing... I could go on. It's one of these stories within a story, being developed by some famous writers very near their lifes' ends.

(Is that the correct place for the apostrophe? There are several lives involved here. Or should it be lives' ends?)

Anyway, set in a posh Maine mansion restored by a now-deceased writer who was mentor and lover
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Jim Botti
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It started a bit slow but quickly caught my attention. I really enjoyed the ending, so many books I read don’t end well, this is not one of them. Well written and a good story!
Ferne
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loved Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble
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 ...more
Wes F
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my special Kindle free reads. Enjoyed this story of a group of retired authors who end up collaborating on a love story novel that is inspired in great part by one of the workers at the retirement home. A novel within a novel. Read it on my Kindle Fire.
Gaele
Stories within stories, what one might expect from a collection of authors from the days of Parker and Salinger, all now spending their last days at The Pen, a grand house reclaimed and repurposed by a former agent, known to them all: providing a safe place for all who enter. From residents to live-in staff, each of the characters we meet in this story finds purpose, hope and even insights during their stay.

What emerges are several ‘key’ stories for each person we meet: from Olivia’s abusive ma
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Jacquie
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved the idea of the story within the story bringing the residents together. I especially enjoyed the idea of each person getting to dictate their part of the story. I wouldn't have chosen this ending, but it was up to the group after all. 😊
Sandra
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A humorous and heart breaking story, full of quirky characters and a beautiful setting I fell in love with. I didn't want it to end. Ms DeFino is a gifted writer and I want to read more of her books.

From Amazon:
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 l
...more
Sharon Struth
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written and clever story that blurs the edges of love, beauty, and aging while giving the reader a story within a story. Several residents at the Bar Harbor Retirement home for famous writers embark on a journey to write one last book...together. And it all begins when the newest arrival at the home, Alfonse Carducci, finds himself inspired by a orderly who works at the home, the beautiful Cecibel, who lives with scars--both inside and out--from her past.

In this novel writing jour
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M
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unique method to story within the story. In these double story books I always prefer one of the stories - not so this time. Both stories were great.
Mike
Once a giant of the literary world, ailing author Alfonse Carducci spends his final days in a retirement home, recalling his storied past as he tries to put pen to paper one last time.




Sandy
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
The refurbished mansion is now home to individuals who once had their hands in publishing. From writers to editors, the rooms are now filled with individuals who have gathered together to finish out their remaining years. Working as an orderly, Cecibel enjoys hiding amongst the famous wards, for they don’t ask many personal questions and she’s able to go about her work, unnoticed.

Alfonse will be arriving soon to fill a vacancy and his arrival is causing quite a stir, especi
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Lisa of Hopewell
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
My Interest

I saw this book and instantly thought, “That’s the home for me in a few years.” It sounded like a great place–and I wasn’t wrong.

“Keeping secrets after all was more about keeping them from one’s self than the world that most likely guessed long ago or didn’t care.”

Bar Harbor Retirement Home…
The Story

Three very elderly distinguished writers and an editor they’ve all know who now has early-onset Alzheimer’s are all waiting out their
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Kathy McC
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
For most of this novel, I was ready to give it 5 stars. But, then, for awhile, it became a romance novel and the stars lost some luster. But, by the end, all was right again.
The premise of this book is unlike any other I have read. DeFino's ability to tell two stories simultaneously is remarkable.
This is a story about life-long friends and new friendships. It is about the power of love, and the hopes for redemption. The characters are multi-layered, and the layers fall away gradually, a
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Jeff
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
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 Cardu
...more
Kara
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
I picked this book up on a whim while I was actually in Bar Harbor ... the title played to my sentimentalities. I literally had no background on this book, had read no reviews, had heard nothing about it, but it was a great and intriguing read. The premise is simple, but the storylines complex and the writing dynamic.

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers focuses on an old estate that was turned into the last stomping grounds for a small group of literary greats, including the renown
...more
Jane
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Wm. Morrow for the book mail. Just showed up one day. I thought the plot seemed interesting reading so was happy I received it.

Sorry to say, I couldn't finish this book. I wanted to since it's about writing and past authors, publishers, editors in a retirement home. I thought the characters would be interesting but they were not. The book focused on many characters but mostly on Cecibel (couldn't get that name wrapped around my tongue) and her muse Alfonso. He was the great
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Scottsdale Public Library
A charming novel with a story within a story. The Bar Harbor Retirement home is a place where formerly famouse writers and editors can go to live out their days. There are lovers past and present, friends, co-workers and what might be termed misfits. At the end of life for some, a group of people come together to find new purpose for their time. This random bunch find a purpose and form a family while creating a new literary story. The charaters were wonderful and the story within kept me enthra ...more
Maura Kennedy
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to put down.

Five stars for a book that was delicIous. Wonderful detail and clever use of words. Love the descriptions of small.things making scenes real. The idea to have seniors write a book grabbed me. (I am a senior and a writer) Plot made this book into a page turner. I got attached to the notebook and it's ongoing story. Was afraid it would disappear. All characters were great. Nice variety. I would have liked some more story telling about th end. Thanks for a good read.
Steve Majerus-Collins
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
I admit that the title is the reason I bothered to give this novel a shot. After all, I like both Bar Harbor and writers, though retirement seems a distant option at best. Still, it pulled me in. And I'm glad. There's a lot going on in this book, many layers of characters, time and insight. That it all holds together and flows into a single stream says something of the skill that Terri-Lynne DeFino brings to the task. In the end, I didn't find it all that compelling. It didn't stir me. I just fo ...more
Melissa
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I basically devoured this audiobook. Excellent narration! I found myself sneaking in minutes whenever I could because I had to know how it was going to end! Absolutely loved it.

I enjoyed the depth of the characters. I really did feel like each of the authors in the Pen lived full and interesting lives that made them into the colorful elderly people we get to know. They felt real to me and I truly wanted them to finish their last story together.
Di
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of retirement home I would like to see. Bar Harbor is a perfect location near the sea.
The premise is intriguing with aging writers who have been colleagues and friends for years, pooling their talents for one more literary contribution. What is so much fun is we get to see the story they write unfold as they write it.
Like the side stories of Cecibel, Fin, and Sal who work at the home but all have their tragic stories to tell. They have each other as friends and confidants
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Sally Crosiar
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting premise, this idea of a retirement home and refuge for writers. It might also apply to artists or musicians, or whomever. The story they all weave together is intriguing. But the realities and challenges of aging and death rang less true for me.
Jeanne Lambrianou
What lovely writing!

Such a pleasure. Stories inside of stories. The respect of sexuality for the old, the honoring of so many loves... The absolute magic we wreak on each other without knowing, without intent... maybe with a bit of intent. Living with characters (can they be called "fictional" when they are so real?) and ghosts, amazing that there is room enough for one life!
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Terri-Lynne DeFino was born and raised in New Jersey, but escaped to the wilds of Connecticut back in the nineties when her kids were babies and everyone wore flannel. She still lives in rural New England with her cats and husband, spending her days exorcising the people and places living inside her head.
“A book is like a woman. She should leave your bed with her hair tangled and her clothes on backward. A book without creases is a book that has never known passion.” 2 likes
“There are many yesterdays. With any luck, many tomorrows. But there's only one today. Don't fuck it up.” 1 likes
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