Title: Fin and Lady
Author: Cathleen Schine
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook download from Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program
Audiobook reader: Anne Twomey
Audiobook length: 9 hours and 13 minutes
First line: Fin’s funeral suit was a year old, worn three times, already too small.
Goodreads blurb: 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.
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.
I love coming-of-age stories, especially those with a young character that I can completely love, and Fin is as wonderful a character as they come. He is precocious, intelligent, curious, and a book-lover, which made him even more dear to my heart. Lady’s guardianship skills leave a lot to be desired, but there is no doubt that she loves Fin the best she knows how.
While Fin is growing up, Lady is growing into herself. The story takes place in the turbulent sixties, and Lady throws herself into different causes, and has relationship after relationship, looking for something that will make her happy. It takes one of life’s unexpected turns to show Lady who she really is. In the meantime, Fin is more of a guardian than Lady, and his fierce love of and protection for her are sweet to behold.
I also loved the way the author gives the reader a peek into the politics and issues of the time period, like the Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights, changes in education, and the Vietnam War. The three settings – Fin’s Connecticut farm, Greenwich Village, and the Isle of Capri – are beautifully rendered, and place Fin and Lady’s story firmly in reality.
The story is narrated by an unnamed – until the end – character, and I was pleased with the way the author led up to this revelation, which was sweet, in spite of the fact that I had my suspicions.
Audio notes: Anne Twomey is a new narrator to me, but I hope to be able to listen to more of her work. She did a terrific job with Fin’s story, and handled two foreign accents (Hungarian and Italian) with finesse. She made the entire listening experience a joy.