The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers Book Club Kit

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The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers by Terri-Lynne DeFino is the official November 2020 pick for the Peanut Blossom Book Club for Recovering Readers.

A copy of the book sits on the table.

We made it through this year and I can’t believe it is time to announce the final 2020 pick of this year’s Peanut Blossom Book Club line-up!

Each year, I pick just 11 books for our book club so that members can have a choose-their-own-adventure month in December. I love to conclude the year with books that have something to do with food, family, or cozy-feeling stories.

I was drawn to this next book for a few reasons:

  1. The location: My husband and I love Bar Harbor, Maine. We haven’t read too many books that take place in New England and that just feels like a wonderful setting for this time of year.
  2. Assessing life choices at the end of the year: Senior citizens aren’t often the main characters of the books we read in our book club, but I absolutely loved The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper a few years ago. This book feels extra timely as we end a rather difficult year and assess what matters most to us.
  3. Authors + Readers: We’ve read (and loved) books about book stores but I think this may be the first book I’ve picked that focuses on an author character. The summary of the book implies that a reader meets her favorite author and that felt like a fun twist on the theme.

I hope you enjoy this month’s book and will make plans to join in again next year.

Peanut Blossom Book Club

This book club pick is one of the awesome books from our sixth year of book club.

We’re still going strong! Want to join us?

You can join our book club for free by signing up for my email newsletter right here:

    What Is The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) About?

    “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…

    Get your copy of the book here.

    The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers Book Club Discussion Questions

    I believe the best book club questions to spark a lively discussion in your group help readers make personal connections to the story.

    You can read about how to write the best book club questions on your own here, but hopefully these will get you started!

    Be sure to check out the official discussion in our book club group right here.

    Question 1:

    What did you think of this month’s book? Have you read a story that takes place in a retirement home before?

    Question 2:

    Who is your favorite writer? Are they still actively producing new books?

    Question 3:

    Alfonse believes that there is a difference between love and passion: “Love is sweet and good and righteous. Passion is wild and messy and dangerous.” Consider the relationships in the book and label them love vs. passion. How about your own relationships? Have you experienced both?

    Question 4:

    Cecibel uses her hair to conceal her scarring, is this just for vanity or do you think she has other reasons? Do you attempt to hide behind something in similar ways?

    Question 5:

    Do you think Finlay deserved to spend time in prison for his actions? How does this news cause the other characters to react?

    Question 6:

    Describe your own dream retirement home. What would life be like and where would it be?

    Question 7:

    Where do you think the characters are a year from when this story ends?

    Book Club Party Menu

    I think it is so fun to plan your book club dinner menu or dessert list based on the theme of the book.

    This month’s book club takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine where lobster is the most popular dish.

    Since a lobster roll or lobster tail would not be a budget-friendly book club choice, you could enjoy other simple seafood appetizers like my cheesy crab melts or bake a batch of frozen mini crab cakes and serve them with homemade remoulade sauce.

    Blueberries are very popular in Maine, so bake a pan of my classic blueberry cobbler to serve with vanilla ice cream or this adorably patriotic strawberry cream cheese tart.



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