‘The Road Towards Home’ by Corinne Demas

By TINKY WEISBLAT

For the Recorder

Published: 05-26-2023 2:48 PM

Despite the recent spate of films featuring older heroines in search of adventure (“80 for Brady” comes to mind), the average bookshelf doesn’t have a lot of stories revolving around people in late middle age. “The Road Towards Home” (Lake Union Publishing) is a welcome, refreshing exception to this rule.

Written by Corinne Demas of North Amherst, the book revolves around a 70-something couple who meet in a retirement community. Noah has moved there at the insistence of his son, who doesn’t want his father living alone. Cassandra has decided to relocate because the house in which she raised her daughters feels too large for her.

They aren’t sure what they are looking for when they arrive at the grandly named Clarion Court. They each decide pretty quickly that they haven’t found it.

The place grows even more dismal when Clarion undergoes repairs and the dining room is temporarily closed, cutting short their convivial nightly meals together.

Noah and Cassandra realize that they met five decades earlier when she dated his college roommate. They are both academics. He is a retired English professor who loves to play the cello. She studies bugs and spiders; she keeps a couple of tarantulas in her apartment.

They form a bond within days, partly because of their prior semi-friendship and partly because they share a reluctance to enter into the games and gossip of their fellow retirees at Clarion.

They plot an escape from the community, at least temporarily. Noah owns a rather primitive cottage on Cape Cod, where he spends summers. They decide to start summer early by driving there together in the spring.

At first, Cassandra thinks she and her large dog will leave the Cape within a few days. Their main purpose in going was to give Noah, who no longer drives, a ride, and enjoy a little vacation. They grow fonder of both the house and its owner, however, and stay on.

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Cassandra and Noah are bright, articulate characters, and it’s hard not to root for them to form a romantic bond. Realistically, Demas also makes them different and set in their ways – so it takes real work for that bond not only to form but to thrive.

It’s not difficult for the pair to figure out who will do the cooking; Noah is accomplished in the kitchen, and Cassandra is not. It’s much harder to decide how much of their long cherished privacy they can give up to commit to each other in a way that will make, and keep, them happy.

Corinne Demas makes both Noah and Cassandra witty, likeable and unique.

They, and their author, are easy to like and appreciate. “The Road Towards Home” is a charming, delightful read that reminds readers that it’s never to late to change or to love.

Demas is a prolific author. In addition to this adult novel, she has written a new children’s book, “Once There Was” (Abrams), illustrated by Gemma Capdevila. The book moves through time and space as it follows the dreams of a girl, a princess, and various natural phenomena.

The prose is simple, and the illustrations are lush. Although the book is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 9, it touched my heart at a considerably older age. Like many of the best stories, it is circular and wide open. It inspires the reader to keep dreaming.

Corinne Demas will launch “The Road Towards Home” on Wednesday, May 31, at 7 p.m. at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley. To register for this event, visit https://bit.ly/3q83SVz.

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning author and singer. Her most recent book is “Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking.” Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.

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