Sophie White is Gina Stebbins' best friend. When Gina loses her job, her husband, and her daughter in a two week span, Sophie is the person who becomes her support. They worked together, and Sophie also lost her job, so she is able to be there when Gina needs her. Now, months later, Gina feels the need to get away from her life and take a vacation where no one knows her. She dreams of, then finds the travel information for Booley, a small village on the beach across the ocean from Massachusetts. She sets up the trip. Of course, she takes Sophie with her.
But once in Booley, a strange thing happens. Gina is only there one day when she realizes she has to go home. She has to go home alone. She needs to stand on her own. The vacation is paid for. Gina insists Sophie stays in Booley for the full three month vacation they had planned. Gina then returns to the United States.
Within another day of not being needed by Gina, Sophie breaks up with the man she was going to live with when she returned from the trip. Sophie is in a small village working in a job by default - the owner told her she was needed, then left to handle another responsibility, leaving her in charge of the local artists' craft store. The only computer/email access she has is through the connection she can purchase through the local hotel. It keeps failing, so she doesn't know how Gina is doing. Nor can she talk over what is happening with her. How can she explain that her own life went into a tailspin but the village and its townspeople are doing for her what they thought it would do for Gina?
Sophie believes she knows herself. Here, though, in Booley, she learns more. In order to learn about herself, though, she keeps reminding herself of the absent town paragon. "What would Finola do?" Then she does it - and surprises herself. Then Finola returns...
Becoming Finola is a charming book I highly recommend. If you're like me, you may not have read the jacket first. The first chapter of the book convinces you that this is Gina's story. But it's not - it's Sophie's. Suzanne Strempek Shea uses first person narrative to tell Sophie's quirky story. The tone is quiet and amusing. I was halfway through the book before I realized the importance of the chapter headings.
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