Commentary
5:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Book Review: Fin & Lady

Cathleen Schine's journey to becoming an author included brief stints in medieval history and shoe buying at Bloomingdale's. Not a likely trajectory toward a profession as a novelist, especially since she turned to writing as a fall-back career.

But it seems to be a perfect fit for Schine. She's had eight books published since 1983, and the ninth--Fin & Lady--will be released this week.

Fin & Lady takes place in rural Connecticut, the isle of Capri and the Upper East Side of New York City. The main events, however, occur in a Greenwich Village brownstone during the changing times of the 1960s.

On the day of his mother’s funeral, 11-year-old Fin is taken from his life on a dairy farm in Connecticut to live with his half-sister, Lady, in New York City. Lady is no domestic, but she does have a generous heart, a spirited approach to life, and a trust fund.

Once they're settled as a make-shift family in their new home, Lady assigns Fin the task of helping her find a husband before she turns 25. With just a year to choose a spouse for Lady, Fin has three suitors to consider: The first is an investment banker who needs the connection. The second is an immigrant with a colorful past; his unpredictable relationship with Lady should derail his candidacy, but instead makes him Fin’s favorite. And the third is a jock with a penchant for parties, but who will soon be drafted.

Schine places Fin and Lady in a world surrounded by civil rights riots, the development of alternative public schools, and the dawn of the Vietnam War. With clever writing and loveable characters, she delivers once again.