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Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine

Cover of Fin & Lady
Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Published on: July 9, 2013

Page Count: 288

Genre: Fiction

My Reading Format: Audiobook review copy sent to me through Audiobook DJ’s Solid Gold Reviewer program.

Audiobook Published by: Macmillan Audio

Narrator: Anne Twomey

Audiobook Length: 9 hours 13 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

It’s 1964. Eleven-year-old Fin and his glamorous, worldly, older half sister, Lady, have just been orphaned, and Lady, whom Fin hasn’t seen in six years, is now his legal guardian and his only hope. That means Fin is uprooted from a small dairy farm in rural Connecticut to Greenwich Village, smack in the middle of the swinging ’60s. He soon learns that Lady—giddy, careless, urgent, and obsessed with being free—is as much his responsibility as he is hers.

So begins Fin & Lady, the lively, spirited new novel by Cathleen Schine, the author of the bestselling The Three Weissmanns of Westport. Fin and Lady lead their lives against the background of the ’60s, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War—Lady pursued by ardent, dogged suitors, Fin determined to protect his impulsive sister from them and from herself.

My Review

After spending a lot of time reading books set in the 1920s and 30s, I jumped at the chance to read something set in a more modern time that is still foreign to me. I made an excellent choice in Fin & Lady. Set mainly in 1960s New York City and partially on the island of Capri, I got swept up in this world to two orphans who each take care of the other in their own ways. Lady and her decisions are unconventional even for the 60s, but it is precisely because of this that Fin found a home and a life after his mother’s death. They were simply meant for each other and I enjoyed their journey, even the bumpy, painful parts. The way the story came together brought tears to my eyes. It couldn’t have ended any other way.

This book was especially engaging in audio. I found Anne Twomey’s narration pleasing and well suited for Fin & Lady. She both blended into the story and enhanced it. She made listening a warm experience, like sitting in a car talking to an old friend.

I am not a fan of out of the ordinary character names. I find them distracting. Even with a good explanation or back story, it still pulls me out of the story. In the end, Lady’s name was the only real qualm with the novel. While I appreciated Cathleen Schine’s comments about them in the author interview that followed the audiobook (I really love features like that with my audiobooks. I wish there were more of them.), the name Lady never really fit for me. She wasn’t mine to name, though, and it didn’t stop me from enjoying her story.

As the weather cools making leisurely strolls around the neighborhood or at a local park seem more appealing than just about anything else, I would encourage you to take the audiobook of Fin & Lady with you. Round about the time the chill wind starts to hit, you might just find yourself whisked away to Capri. You’ll find yourself pondering how far we’ve come (or not) and rediscovering some of your favorite songs from the 60s along the way. This book is life affirming, thought provoking, and enjoyable.

14 Comments

  • At 2013.08.29 08:34, Beth F said:

    I bet I’d really like this book. Odd names don’t really bother me.

    • At 2013.08.29 08:41, Jennifer said:

      I do have my quirks. LOL! I loved it despite that. It’s a really great book.

    • At 2013.08.29 08:34, Beth Hoffman said:

      I have this book on my list and I’m glad to know that you enjoyed it!

      • At 2013.08.29 08:41, Jennifer said:

        You’ll love it, Beth. It’s a great read.

      • At 2013.08.29 09:19, Kerry M said:

        I listened to this one as well and couldn’t agree more on Twomey’s narration. She was so perfect for this story. The names didn’t distract me, but then, they usually don’t (I read enough fantasy growing up that I suppose I got used to strange names?). I could see how Lady could be distracting if odd names is a thing that gets to you, because it is a very strange name.

        • At 2013.08.30 13:06, Jennifer said:

          That’s a really interesting thought about strange names and fantasy reading. I have never really read that much of it. I’m glad we both agree about Twomey’s narration. I can’t wait to listen to another of her audiobooks.

        • At 2013.08.29 09:24, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          I’m used to odd names to they don’t bother me at all. I love that time period so I’ll have to look for this one.

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          • At 2013.08.30 13:11, Jennifer said:

            I think you would love this book, Kathy. I didn’t think to include it in my review, but it reminded me of Beth Hoffman’s writing.

          • At 2013.08.29 10:23, Jennifer said:

            Onto the wish list it goes! Sounds like a great one 😀 Thanks!

            • At 2013.08.30 13:11, Jennifer said:

              It is good! Let me know what you think when you get a chance to read it.

            • At 2013.08.29 13:47, Ellison Weist said:

              Another book that I keep going back and forth on, debating whether or not to read. I love Schine so this review may tip the scales. Plus I have an odd name so that won’t be an issue! Thanks, Jennifer.

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              • At 2013.08.30 13:12, Jennifer said:

                Your name isn’t odd! I was just thinking about how it’s a nice twist on Allison (my youngest is an Allison). Since my oldest is Emma, I would have had two E babies. 🙂

              • At 2013.08.29 20:03, Shannon @ River City Reading said:

                Though I don’t listen to audiobooks too often, I’ve heard several recommendations for this one based on how great the narration is, so I’m definitely thinking of picking it up the next time I need a book for a roadtrip!

                • At 2013.08.30 13:13, Jennifer said:

                  Shannon, this would make the perfect book for a road trip. That’s also a great way to use audiobooks if you don’t listen very often.

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