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Becoming Finola
Suzanne Strempek Shea
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Becoming Finola

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  213 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews

In the latest novel from the award-winning author of Around Again, an American takes an unexpected trip to Ireland and finds the woman she was meant to become.

Newly unemployed, Sophie White has nothing better to do when her recently widowed best friend, Gina, invites her along on a much-needed, postcrisis getaway. When, after only one day in Ireland, Gina decides she sh

Kindle Edition
Published (first published June 15th 2004)
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Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Becoming Finola
by Suzanne Strempek Shea

This was a slow starter for me, taking nearly 100 pages before it grabbed me. But then it really struck a chord with me and I didn't want it to end. I found the the style of writing was beautiful in a way that's hard to describe. I'm not sure if this will capture my meaning, but this is one phrase that caught my attention:

She'd been studying the village so intensely, but just beyond that lay an entire ocean--bigger than the world, it seemed, and certa
I don't remember what made me want to read this book, but I'm glad I finally got to it. While I think the pace of the story could have picked up a little more, I really liked the author's easy writing style. Not to say though, that the writing was enough, because it wasn't. What really held me more than the writing and the honestly written characters, was the whole "Finola O'Flynn" situation. Much like Sophie, I began to wonder about Finola and what was so darn special about the woman that seeme ...more
I picked this book up on a whim while looking for something to read over my staycation a couple weeks ago. I forgot to request any books on my to-read list so I made a quick sweep through the library's browsing section and found this book. I have read several non-fiction books by this author and really enjoyed them. She actually started out as a fiction writer, so I thought I should finally read one of her fiction works. I'm not sure how representative of her other fiction books this one is sinc ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kendra by: Kate
Shelves: book-club
The book was a quick read about a woman (Sophie White) who goes to Ireland to help out a friend, who ends up abandoning her there. Sophie remains in Ireland and slowly takes on the identity of Finola O'Flynn, a local legend. She wears her clothes, lives in her house, acts as Finola in her bead shop and eventually falls in love with Finola's ex. Then, Finola returns and Sophie is shattered because she's not sure who she is without pretending to be Finola.

It's a great story about finding who you r
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Becoming Finola, by Suzanne Strempek Shea, is an easy to read, enjoyable book. Thinking she is going on an extended vacation with her friend to allow her to get through some tough times, Sophie finds herself staying in the cottage once owned by the town's legend, alone. Her friend, Gina, decided the trip is not what she actually wanted after all and went back to the States after 24 hours. Sophie finds herself immersing herself into local culture, making friends, and working in a local store that ...more
Janet Gardner
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Suzanne Strempek Shea, but this is without question my favorite (so far). It’s the story of Sophie White, who accompanies her friend Gina to a small village in western Ireland, where Gina hopes to restart her life after a series of misfortunes including the sudden death of her husband, abandonment by her daughter, and the closing of the factory where she had worked. Gina decides after less than 24 hours to return home to Massachusetts, but Sophie--who is at l ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, drama, 2009
Two friends go to a tiny village in Ireland, one to get over a marriage break-up, the other to give her support. After one night, the divorced one realizes she needs to go home, but leaves the other one behind to finish out the summer rental of the house. Our character slowly gets to know the locals and starts working in a gift shop, making and selling jewelry. She discovers that Finola, a local girl who has left town, lived in her house, worked in the same shop, and lived with her boss. Since t ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: Kate
Shelves: book-club
I think I was just really distracted during the week I was reading this. I liked the story and the setting was so romantic but I think the writing style was weird. There were some instances of present tense that would throw me off and there was one passage that was repeated three times. I'm not sure if this is a quirk that the author was embracing because of the mystical story or what. I found the popularity of the bracelets hard to believe but I guess it was a story of belief and how it affects ...more
Laura |
Sep 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2008
This was my first experience reading Suzanne Strempek Shea, and I really enjoyed this book. It was a more complex story than I expected, and I appreciated that. Though there were a couple of long chapters in the middle that I sort of had to slog through, overall I found the book to be engaging and sometimes surprising. As with many books set in locales other than the United States, it made me hope that a town such as Booley exists somewhere in Ireland, and that one day I will have the opportunit ...more
I liked this book and I like this author. She has an interesting way of describing things, for example ... "And all I could do was generously spray the Bactine of my most sincere intentions onto the compound fractures she'd suffered from the ending of her dozen-year career ...".
The story had a few little twists in it that kept it from being too predictable. I liked Sophie's relationship with the old man Joe and I thought that her interaction with the others in Booley made her more real-world 3-d
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I enjoyed this book. The story is pretty predictable and the author's writing style, while not at all bad, is not really my cup of tea -- a little jumpy, full of random asides. But the lovely setting and amusing characters made the book charming and engaging. It also brings up the question of the stories we tell about ourselves and each other, and how they relate to who we really are. Satisfying.
Bethany Zimp
This wasn't her finest work. I didn't love the premise: vacationing to Ireland with her devastated friend (to recover) only to be abandoned there, ultimately creating some, frankly, non-interesting relationships with the remaining Irish locals. I was expecting something else (like "Hoopi Shoopi Donna") but got a story I had to slog through. There were moments I thought the story would pick up, but...
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Cute story about a woman who goes to Ireland with her friend and winds up staying after her friend leaves. She slowly begins to take over the life of a woman from the village named Finola who is off somewhere, moving into her cottage, wearing her clothes, working in her gift shop and all is well until Finola comes back of course.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I liked it... Not necessarily the writing - or the story - though both were good... But it's the question it raises as to what would we do if we were acting like.... (our best self - or someone we admire)... What would I say, or do, or how would I act if I were...
Slowly I believe we would become our best self... I love the question!
This is my favorite of this local author's books. Have you ever wished you could trade lives with someone else? Watch as Sophie from Massachusetts slowly becomes Finola from Ireland, and enjoy your stay in the quaint and captivating village of Booley.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could almost hear the Irish brogue as I read. I've never been to Ireland. However, I felt this book took me there. As the main character gets swallowed up by the beautiful yet simple life, so too did I.
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Loved this book about Ireland (does have some language, though).
Anne Totoro
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book......I liked reading her references to the Springfield area and the descriptions of the people and places in Ireland were great!!!
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably 3.5. I was thinking more 4 stars until the very end, which somehow seemed a little too predictable to me.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first read this in 2005, I gave it 3.75 stars. Since then, I've reread it at least, so I figure it deserves at least 4 stars.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously purple writing style with long, run-on sentences that definitely affected my enjoyment of the story. Probably wouldn't read it again.
Heidi Boyd
May 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book a couple years ago but the story stayed with me. Luscious Irish landscape, rich in folk lore, with a little beaded jewelry thrown in.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humor, friendship
Great use of figurative language. Humorous and a quick read. I like all of her books.
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good friend gave me a signed copy. Can't wait.
Sep 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erin by: Mom and Tara
This book was pretty good, I loked reading it as if the characters had an "Irish" accent.
Dec 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow start but better ending. I liked Hoopi Shoopi Donna from same author much better.
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like, but don't love Shea's fiction. That said, this may be my favorite of hers.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second read... seemed even better than the first time. I was living in Booley, Ireland. What a romance! As always, Strempek Shea took me close to the human heart in grief and in joy.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This author wins my prize for composing the worst run-on sentences in history. I enjoyed the story and it's message, but the writing was painful.
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Suzanne Strempek Shea is the author of five novels: Selling the Lite of Heaven, Hoopi Shoopi Donna, Lily of the Valley, Around Again, and Becoming Finola, published by Washington Square Press. She has also written three memoirs, Songs From a Lead-lined Room: Notes - High and Low - From My Journey Through Breast Cancer and Radiation; Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama and Other Page-Turning Advent ...more
More about Suzanne Strempek Shea...