Title: Simon the Fiddler
Author: Paulette Jiles
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 14, 2020
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In March 1865, the long
and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now,
twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to
his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction
about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria,
Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the
Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a
comparatively easy position in a regimental band.
Weeks later, on
the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are
called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the
conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but
notice the lovely Doris Mary Aherne, an indentured girl from Ireland,
who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter.
surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. He will travel around
Texas seeking fame and fortune as a musician. She must accompany the
colonel’s family to finish her three years of service. But Simon cannot
forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her
My Two Cents:
In "Simon the Fiddler," Simon has had the fortune to escape being conscripted into the military during the brutal Civil War due to his youthful looks and slight frame. At the tail end of the war, his luck runs thin and he is conscripted and fights in one of the final battles of the war. Luckily, he is still able to keep up his music and playing his beloved fiddle. This book covers the dying days of the war and the dawning of the aftermath through a unique perspective woven together with music. It's a tale of resilience and love that covered a time period that I still have not read much about!
The Civil War and the years after are such a difficult time in American history. The war and its aftereffects upended so many different things. I really liked seeing what it would have been like to live through those unprecedented times. Because Simon is a musician, he has a very unique perspective on the war and what it will mean for those around him. We also get to see how healing he believes music is and how it can effect people for the better.
I also loved the romantic aspect of this book. Simon is playing a show and spots a young woman, Doris Dillon, and falls for her hard. She is indentured to a powerful officer and must follow him and his family around when all she dreams of escaping. Both Simon and Doris's lives are not their own in many ways and I loved seeing how they are able to make the best of it and to take a leap that might land them in trouble. I really loved seeing how the story unwound between them!
You all know that I love historical fiction and I really love when authors explore some of the hidden corners of history. Like with her previous novel "News of the World," this is exactly what Jiles does again in "Simon the Fiddler." This book is a great pick for readers looking for a different perspective on the aftermath of the Civil War.