In this charmer of a novel, Ava Finch (Minnesota author Sarah Stonich) introduces us to RayAnne Dahl, a thirty-something fishing pro who finds herself at the helm of public television’s first talk show that’s centered around fishing. Or, as one viewer’s husband calls it, “Oprah in a boat.”
At first, RayAnne is just happy to have a job that includes quality time on her beloved AquaCraft, Penelope. But as the all-woman show starts to gain popularity, she and her take-no-prisoners assistant, Cassi, use their platform to invite guests who have endured hardships or who are making a difference in the world. After all, reasons RayAnne, “Women want to know they’re not in it alone.”
Enter the love interest, Hal, and so begins their back-and-forth blossoming romance, filled with awkward moments and comedic misunderstandings.
RayAnne’s immediate family is a whirling bundle of conflict and calamity — a mother who leads spiritual journeys for menopausal women, a father who’s been married six times, a brother juggling wild twin boys — but her beloved grandmother brings a sense of calm to RayAnne’s life.
The best part about “Fishing With RayAnne” is that Finch has written a lighthearted, comedic novel for women that isn’t all about landing a man (fishing pun intended). It’s about the delicate balance of loving the crazy family you’ve been given, making a difference in the lives of others and knowing that even if it feels like it sometimes, we’re not in this life alone.
Meganne Fabrega is a writer in New Hampshire and a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
FISHING WITH RAYANNE
By: Ava Finch (Sarah Stonich)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, 318 pages, $14.95.
Events: 7 p.m. Nov. 12, Micawber';s Books, St. Paul; 7 p.m. Nov. 17, SubText Books, St. Paul; 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Scout and Morgan Books, Cambridge; 7 p.m. Dec. 1, Common Good Books, St. Paul; 7 p.m. Dec. 3, Barnes & Noble Galleria, Edina.