Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published on: July 9, 2013
Page Count: 288
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.
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.