Welcome to a new feature for 2015 – a post on my favourite book of the previous week. The inaugural Book of the Week is Cathleen Schine’s Fin and Lady – which I’ve had on my to-read list since it was recommended in the Emerald Street mailout in December 2013 (yes, that is the amount of lag the size of the to-read pile causes me).
Fin and Lady tells the story of Fin – who is orphaned at 11 and goes to live with his older half sister Lady. Lady is glamorous and exotic and moves Fin from his grandparents’ farm in Connecticut to Greenwich Village – in 1964. Through the book you see 1960s New York through Fin’s eyes – and watch as he looks after his sister as much as she looks after him.
Lady is a fascinating enigma through the book – she longs to be independent and free, but the late sixties hippy-commune-free love vibe doesn’t appeal to her. She tells Fin she wants his help to pick a husband – but doesn’t like the advice he gives her. I wasn’t dazzled by her the way that Fin was, but I still found her an interesting and engaging character – and I could totally see why 11-year-old Fin would have been absolutely bowled over by her.
I was fairly sure I knew what was going to happen, but I really enjoyed the journey to get there. I would have liked to know more about what happened next to Fin, but the ending was still satisfying. Fin and Lady made me laugh – and it made me teary-eyed. I also want to read more about New York in this period. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye open for more from Cathleen Schine.