I’ll preface this review with the fact that I view my lack of religious education (and therefore a lack of appreciation and understanding of the fine theological detail in this book) is a failing on my part, not the author’s. What Carlene Bauer has written in her new novel, Frances and Bernard, is beautifully done – it simply lacked meaning and context for me.
In the summer of 1957, Frances (a writer) and Bernard (a poet) meet at an artists’ colony. She finds him faintly ridiculous, but talented. He sees her as aloof, but intriguing. Bernard writes to a friend about frst meeting Frances –
“A curious mix of feminine and unfeminine – wore a very conventional white dress covered in the smallest of brown flowers and laid her napkin down on her lap with something approaching fussiness, but then thumped the bottom of a ketchup bottle as if she were pile driving.”
Afterward, Bernard writes Frances a letter. Soon they are immersed in a deep friendship that changes the course of their lives. Continue reading