First of all, I’d like to start out by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May you find joy and peace in this season and throughout 2022!
This will be my last review for 2021, and it ends well!
At nineteen, pretty, vivacious Faby Gagne is still waiting for her life to begin. The time is 1924, the place Enosburg Falls, Vermont. With school over, her time is now occupied with mundane chores and avoiding the crossfire of resentment between her mother and her grandmother.
As the time approaches for the annual vaudeville show to arrive in the village, Faby watches the posters go up with increasing excitement. She is the best kind of audience for the Small Time: she does not discriminate.
When the show comes to the Opera House at last, Faby catches the eye of charming hoofer Slim White, who sets a course for her life that she never could have imagined.
During the era of flapper girls and vaudeville thrills, the idea of being a farmer’s wife in rural Vermont holds little appeal for young Faby Gagne. In an act of youthful naivety, and despite her sister Josephine’s warnings, she allows herself to be courted by a vaudeville performer, who goes by the stage name of Slim White.
Things happen, as they do, and Faby’s life is forever changed. Though she gets her wish to leave Enosburgh Falls, things on the ‘circuit’ are not all glitz and glory. A coming-of-age story with a cautionary undertone, Telling Sonny will hold your attention and immerse you into the Roarin’ Twenties. Though I found some of the excessive descriptions concerning mundane details to grow a bit long in the tooth, Elizabeth does an excellent job of building a connection to her characters. You cannot read this story without developing a significant degree of compassion for the once spirited Faby, who discovers that life doesn’t always tailor itself to your dreams.
There is a melancholic edge to this story, but it’s peppered with the joy and strength of true family love and support. They are there for her, whenever she needs them. I’d recommend this book for those who enjoy visiting by-gone eras and characters that are both larger than life yet must subsist on stale sandwiches and bad coffee.
I’m giving Telling Sonny Four Stars!
Please note that I only post reviews on books I deem four or five stars. Life is short and if I don’t like a book, I simply won’t finish it.
Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.
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