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Simon the Fiddler

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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
ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2020 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Angela M
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
News of the World is one of my favorite books . I’ve been remiss since I read it by not reading more by Paulette Jiles. With this novel, I am once again inspired to get to the others that I haven’t yet read because I found the writing here to be lovely and the characters wonderful, even though it took a while for me to connect with them.

Simon is a young man from Kentucky who travels around playing his music, trying to avoid conscription into the Confederate Army, until he finally is caught in
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review to follow, all I can say now is that I loved it ....
A big thank-you to Paulette Jiles, William Morrow & Edelweiss !
Will Byrnes
It was different then. The air was different and the long remote crying of the steamboat whistles as they came down from the Monongahela and Pittsburgh seemed to tell the story of a great nation and a great people with adventure and the look of distance in their eyes, and now it was somehow soiled with the stench of the dead. MacFarland was dead. Lincoln was dead. Neighbors had shot one another dead. It occurred to him that he rarely laughed anymore. Maybe laughter would come back, but it was a
Diane S ☔
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 The Civil War is near the end. Simon, had managed, helped by looking younger than his years, to escape having to serve in either army. His luck runs out, when the conscriptors, grab him and he finds himself in the Confederate army, playing music in a rag tag regimental band. There he will meet two other musicians and a young boy who pretended to be older than his actual age. At wars end these four will set out together trying to make a living, playing here and there. Simon has a goal, he has ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the title. I found the time period and setting interesting. The writing was good. But I just couldn’t get into the story. Unfortunately, reading Simon the Fiddler felt like a real slog to me. In his early 20s, Simon is an orphan making his way through the south toward the end of the American Civil war. He is conscripted against his will, and meets a small group of other musicians. Once the war ends, they make their way into Texas, as Simon tries to find Doris, a young Irish maid he ...more
Stephanie Crowe
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The west comes alive under the pen of Paulette Jiles. She takes the reader back in time to experience first hand life in Texas after the Civil War. Simon is a flawed character whose anger when uncontrolled gets him into trouble, but he has a creative musical side that adds character to his personality.His attraction and affection for an indentured Irish girl, Doris Mary Dillon certainly brings romance to life early Texas style when relationships were much more restrained.
It is easy to lose
Kim McGee
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a huge fan of NEWS OF THE WORLD and was over the moon to be back in the wilds of old Texas again. This is a story of a good man who doesn't want to be violent (unless you touch his fiddle) but the world doesn't always allow him to stay silent or defenseless. Simon does his best to protect his fellow musicians and earn the love of an Irish governess he falls in love with from afar. He is a gentle soul caught in a violent wind of post-civil war Texas. The story is woven with peppery phrases ...more
Bonnye Reed
Jan 26, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Goodreads Winner! January 26, 2020
Received February 8, 2020
Pub date April 14, 2020
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the author’s earlier work NEWS OF THE WORLD and was hoping for a similar masterpiece, but alas, it is not to be. The vivid descriptions are here, placing me right in the Texas countryside of 1865, but the characters are not as strong as the wonderful Captain Kidd. The titular Simon and 3 buddies leave the Confederate Army without properly discharging, and try to carve out a life playing music in and around Texas. Simon has a short fuse and doesn’t like being around people, two traits ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hauntingly beautiful. Jiles is somehow able to bring Simon and his fiddle to life, so that we hear his music and feel his love for a dark haired Irish girl he has seen only once for a few minutes time. The story is set in south Texas at the end of the Civil War and in the unsettled times following. Jile's research, as always, is meticulous in every carefully drawn detail, but the history is never allowed to overpower the story. I loved Enemy Women and News of the Worldbut Simon the Fiddler is ...more
Kerry Pickens
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
This is historical romance set in Texas, and the two lovebirds barely know each other. One is a young fiddler and his love interest is a Scottish indentured servant. If you liked Cold Mountain or True Grit, you would enjoy this book.
Laura Hill
Thank you to William Morrow and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on April 14th, 2020.

The best kind of historical fiction — a deep, richly painted, description of life in East Texas at the end of the Civil War. It’s an everyday adventure story — not about mythical heroes but about people trying to reclaim their lives in the chaotic aftermath of a devastating war.

Simon Boudlin — the titular fiddler — has simple goals
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jiles writes with insistent evocative grace, bringing to life Texas in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. Simon Boudlin, seen in News of the World, is the hero of this story. He yearns for music, a wife, and land. This novel traces his journey from unwilling Confederate conscriptee toward those goals.
Sharon Lawler
Great survival story based with a period playlist in the background. The end of the Civil War has finally arrived, and in Texas a group of Yankee and Confederate musicians find themselves tasked with providing the music for the night's farewell banquet for the officers from both sides. After they are officially dismissed, the fiddler, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin, finds himself in the company of Yankee drummer boy Patrick O'Hehir who plays bones and bodhran, piper Damon Lessing, Irish tin ...more
Simon the Fiddler is for News of the World fans and history buffs. Simon the Fiddler is not for those who require a lot of plot. Set in post American civil war reconstruction, the story follows Simon (the Fiddler) as he tries to returns to civilian life. And that is kinda it. He’s a broke musician in Texas. He has a fiddle and plays in bars. Life happens to him, as life happens to everyone. And that is the plot. It’s a little like going to a Texas historical museum and learning about some ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
What a wonderful story about hope, integrity, redemption and the resolve to set your path in life.

At the end of the civil war, one young man, although having come through the devastation of that war, knows what he wants to do with his life and what he needs to do to reach that end.

Music plays such an important part of this story. "...they all shared memories of the chaos of the Civil War, of death and destruction, poverty, dislocation. But he had his music. He could lift them out of all that
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Paulette Jiles is one of my top 5 favorite authors. Her writing is sublime, her stories are fascinating, and her characters unforgettable. And somehow she is getting better and better. Simon the Fiddler and her previous book, News of the World, are brilliant and everyone should read them.
I was delighted to win an ARC of this book from Goodreads-imagine winning a copy of a book by your favorite author!-but it didn’t affect this review, because my opinion of her writing is already a good as it
Linda Quinn
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who loves westerns, or historical fiction, or love stories or all of the above. I have so much love for this novel, a follow-up to News of the World but starring Simon the Fiddler in his own tale and adventure.
Linda Quinn
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who loves westerns, or historical fiction, or love stories or all of the above. I have so much love for this novel, a follow-up to News of the World but starring Simon the Fiddler in his own tale and adventure.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
A decent read, but not nearly as captivating or enjoyable as News of the World. My biggest beef is the secondary characters are, like, something less than caricature. I felt slighted and frustrated on their behalf. Extra uncomfortable because two of the three are people of color.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this bittersweet historical novel, atravelling fiddler is forced to enlist in a regimentaly band in the last days of the Civil War. Afterwards, Simon and his companions travel Texas, seeking gigs and love.
Jo Beth
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A historical fiction yarn about a fiddler in the old west., Simon, who falls in love and pursues his object of desire across the Texas terrority. The book meanders, just like the rivers, but the lack of tension and conflict just makes this a pretty ordinary read.
Lisa of Hopewell
Feb 04, 2020 marked it as to-read
I learned of this book via this post:
Susan Dunker
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not as good a News of The World. Much longer. Beautifully written. Lovely love story.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Simon the Fiddler follows Simon Boudlin and his musician friends as they make their way through war-torn Texas following the American Civil War. At times beautiful and haunting, the plot of this uneven historical novel has the unfortunate tendency to meander to and fro without direction, very much like the protagonist himself. It's darker and more melancholy than News of the World (Captain Kidd makes a cameo appearance) and lacks the focused plot and memorable characters that made that novel a ...more
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Feb 14, 2020
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Dec 05, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2020
Linda Tortorici
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Feb 10, 2020
rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2019
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Paulette Jiles is an American poet and novelist. Born in Salem, Missouri, she was educated at the University of Missouri with a degree in Romance Lanugages. Jiles lives in the Texas Hill Country on a small ranch.