Summer colony is novel setting

BAR HARBOR—Ann “Andy” Rutherfurd Austin will discuss her novel “The Bar Harbor Formation” Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Jesup Memorial Library.

Katie Bowman Morse, the novel’s protagonist, lives a privileged childhood during the last years of Bar Harbor’s gilded age and throughout the novel faces the challenges of a changing world.

The book begins with Katie as a fifteen-year old, who has been trained for a world of Emily Post, dinner parties and marriage as a career. However, that way of life is quickly vanishing. As the book progresses, Emily has to find her footing at a time of massive cultural shifts: the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, hippies, feminists and the relaxation of the norms her family held dear.

Austin spent her childhood at her grandmother’s house on Eden Street. Her grandparent’s family had owned Bar Harbor “cottages” since the late 1800s and in mid-twentieth century Austin’s two siblings and six cousins led an idyllic life at Burnmouth.

“The Bar Harbor Formation” is a novel based both on a childhood and on the less happy but more complicated years that followed. However, Austin writes that the book is not a memoir, the characters are not portrayals of real people; the accounts of wild parties, adulteries and accidents are only loosely based on reality. Nevertheless, anyone who has ever been in love, either with a person or with a childhood house, will enjoy this very romantic book.

Austin’s grandmother’s was Mrs. Morris McCormick and before she was divorced, Mrs. Robert Hall McCormick. Her father was Sargent F. Collier and her mother was Eleanor Morris McCormick, and her late sister was the author Eleanor Dwight, who wrote about Edith Wharton and Diana Vreeland among others.

Austin graduated from Vassar College and spent 44-year career as a freelance courtroom sketch artist for ABC’s national news bureau and its Chicago affiliate, WLS-TV.

Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books. Contact 288-4245.


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