Simon the Fiddler

Simon the Fiddler

Series: Historical Fiction

Jiles’s confident new novel sweeps readers away to post-Civil War Texas, populated by frontiersman, outlaws, soldiers, and those eager to seize opportunity wherever they can find it. Among them is a poor fiddler named Simon Boudlin, who, though just twenty-three, knows exactly what he wants from life: his own parcel of land and a wife to share it. While playing an officer’s dinner one fated evening, Simon spies the beautiful Doris Dillon across the room and falls in love at first sight. But how can Simon free the indentured Doris from her dangerous master? And how can a lowly fiddler save enough gold to buy the homestead his future wife deserves? With a group of ragtag musicians for companions, Simon sets out on a quest to secure the future he’s dreamed of. This story will make your heart sing as sweetly as the tunes from Simon’s fiddle, and that’s saying something.

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About the Book

“The reader is treated to a kind of alchemy on the page when character, setting and song converge at all the right notes, generating an authentic humanity that is worth remembering and celebrating.” — New York Times

The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of News of the World and Enemy Women returns to Texas in this atmospheric story, set at the end of the Civil War, about an itinerant fiddle player, a ragtag band of musicians with whom he travels trying to make a living, and the charming young Irish lass who steals his heart.

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 Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter.

After the 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 again.

Incandescent in its beauty, told in Paulette Jiles’s trademark spare yet lilting style, Simon the Fiddler is a captivating, bittersweet tale of the chances a devoted man will take, and the lengths he will go to fulfill his heart’s yearning.

“Jiles’ sparse but lyrical writing is a joy to read. . . . Lose yourself in this entertaining tale.” — Associated Press

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