Fin and Lady

Written by Cathleen Schine
Review by Kathryn Johnson

In 1964, eleven-year-old Fin, called Finino by his estranged (and some say “strange”) half-sister Lady, loses his second parent. With no one left to care for him, Lady shows up at their father’s funeral to take charge, in her own fashion, bringing him to live with her in New York City. She is unpredictable, unconventional, not well thought of by many respectable adults (due to unladylike habits such as smoking, swearing, and speaking her mind), and… she thoroughly enchants young Fin. Therein begins his journey to become a “turned-around” Fin. He loves her for her wackiness, her delight in treating him to more sweets than any sane adult would lavish upon a child. She sweeps him up and into her world so completely that he finds little time to mourn or think about being an orphan. And along the way, through the years of their life together, both Fin and Lady endear themselves to the reader.

Cathleen Schine has become known as a writer who understands how to handle wit while revealing wisdom. What she accomplishes in her latest novel about a young boy taken under the wing of an outrageous half-sister is heartbreakingly entertaining, full of surprises, and memorable. Schine has a talent for selecting a single moment in time and elevating it within a sentence or three to a poignant experience. Schine does what novelists were meant to do. She creates people our hearts can cuddle up to and want to linger with. Highly recommended.