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Simon the Fiddler

A Novel
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins

Non-member price: $42.90

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Publisher's Summary

The critically acclaimed, best-selling 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, 23-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.

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’ 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. 

©2020 Paulette Jiles (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Henwhisperer
  • 19-04-2020

Probably the best book I’ve heard in awhile! I’d give this 11 stars if I could.

Paulette Jiles is one of the best authors there is. And Grover Gardner has got to be just about the best narrator there is, and there are some mighty fine ones. I know I’m going to be missing Simon and his crew, and Grover Gardner’s voice when I listen to the next audiobook.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Teatime2
  • 02-09-2020

so disappointing

I loved News of the World so much and thought anything Jiles wrote would be excellent. Wrong, in my estimation. I listened to over two hours of Grover Gardner's wonderful narration but then couldn't make myself continue. Returned on 9/2/20.

1 person found this helpful

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  • knit & listen
  • 01-09-2020

Paulette Jules does it again

what a great combination of writing and performance, Paulette jiles, and Grover Gardner near rating are at the top of my list for historical fiction.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael W Emery
  • 27-08-2020

Great Tale of Early Texas

Paulette Giles has written an outstanding story. With some superb characters. Excellent storytelling and the memory of the story lingers long after you’ve finished the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brian M
  • 15-08-2020

This story takes you away!

I wish it hadn't taken me so long to discover Paulette Jiles! This is a great American writer! Simon the Fiddler is the kind of story that you climb into and live it from the inside. The story follows a young musician scraping together a living at the end of the Civil War. There's a beautiful Irish girl, a seedy colonel, some loyal friends, bar brawls, hard times in a harbor town, even harder times on the plains, folks stretched to the breaking point, and a rare violin. When he opens the case, brings the fiddle to his chin and draws the bow, the lilting melodies lift folks...taking them away from their losses and gently calming frayed soles for a time. Set in Texas, this writing reminds me of Larry McMurtry. Story, language, narration...all excellent!

1 person found this helpful

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  • RueRue
  • 05-06-2020

Disappointing

I loved News of the World and was very much looking forward to this follow-up ( Jefferson Kidd make a short appearance). The prose is lovely, as well as having well- developed characters, but it was just too long. The narrative goes on and on with all that lovely prose, but the actual story is very scant. Grover Gardner is a fine narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fierce Red Pen
  • 22-10-2020

Another treasure

Unique voice in mesmerizing prose, Jiles shares the story of Simon the Fiddler in post war Texas in her usual elegant and fascinating style. Heroes and heroines as ordinary people.

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  • Maggie
  • 30-09-2020

Beautiful narration

What a great tale of life in Texas after the Civil War! I was right there. Amazing narration.

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  • Cheryllyn Tallman
  • 14-09-2020

Challenge to finish

This could have been a good story but the endless descriptions of unnecessary things made it truly boring. It takes till the end of the book to have any true interest and then just like that it’s over. Were it not for this being on our book club list I would have stopped listening after 100 pages. The audio was good thank goodness but the story was uninspiring.

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  • tina
  • 12-08-2020

a texas tale

the excitement and adventure of the tale of lives, love and the struggling through the unknown future inspire the imaginations.