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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

What listeners say about Simon the Fiddler

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  • Overall
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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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!

5 people found this helpful

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Ms Jiles, please continue this story.

If you love being pulled into the vastness of America’s story of unique souls, Simon the Fiddler is a wonderful addition to your library. Beautifully narrated, the author blends her historical research and fascinating characters into a tale from wars chaos to mans never ending fulfillment of his dreams. Simon’s journey will continue as long as man lives free.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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A Classic! Must Read

Simon the Fiddler, a beautiful story, beautiful book. Paulette Jiles has outdone her previous masterpiece, News of the World. Simon the Fiddler is even better!

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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It was okay. Dull narrator.

I was mildly disappointed after hearing good things about this book. It was okay but not great. The narrator definitely brought it down a point or two. He wasn’t bad per se, but he delivered the text in a flat, monotonous voice that made it easy to tune out a lose focus. Perhaps with a better narrator I’d have liked this better.