I am delighted to share my review for the novel Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau.
About Telling Sonny
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.
My review for Telling Sonny 20th August 2020
Elizabeth Gauffreau takes the brief but fateful encounter between Faby, a young and naive small town girl, and a flambouyant vaudeville performer called Slim White (Louis Kittel), and creates a wonderfully engaging family drama.
We are taken on a rail trip around the eastern states of the USA, stopping off at towns and coastal resorts with their playhouses on the established circuits within the small time Vaudeville. Through the eyes of Faby, now locked into an enforced relationship with a virtual stranger, we meet the colourful performers that live out of their suitcases. Usually in dingy digs with little money left over for food or the train fare to their next engagement. A tough life and not for the fainthearted, as Faby was to discover along with the kindness of strangers. The description of life on the circuit and the individuals we discover through Faby’s reflections, was rich in detail and clearly well researched.
Two sets of values are at odds with each other which influences Faby and Louis’s relationship, small town versus the exotic and less restricted Vaudeville lifestyle. Faby is clearly out of her depth, but as she explores the towns and cities on the circuit, in the long hours that Louis is at the theatre, she begins to grow and become more self-reliant. Unfortunately, as you become immersed in the story, you cannot help but sense things are not going to end well, but you hope against hope that there might be a happy ending for this mismatched pair.
The author has created memorable characters both on the home front and on the road, with some lovely surprises as we get to know them better, including one of my favourites; Faby’s grandmother.
This novel is beautifully written with a gentle pace but is still a page turner as the reader becomes fascinated in how the story of this ill-fated relationship is going to end. Thankfully the author provides us with secret revealing final chapters, as the story of Faby, Louis and Sonny the child they share,comes to a close. Highly recommended.
About Elizabeth Gauffreau
I have always been drawn to the inner lives of other people–what they care about, what they most desire, what causes them pain, what brings them joy. These inner lives become my characters. I write to tell their stories.
My fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines, including Rio Grande Review, Serving House Journal, Soundings East, Hospital Drive, Blueline, Evening Street Review, and Adelaide Literary Magazine, as well as several themed anthologies. Telling Sonny is my first published book.
I hold a B.A. in English/Writing from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. Currently, I am the Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Assessment at Champlain College Online in Burlington, Vermont.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed the review of Telling Sonny and will head over to buy and enjoy. Thanks Sally.