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The Fiddler

May 30, 2012

What’s the one thing English majors love more than books? FREE books! As a former English major, when I heard that Bethany House Publishing was looking for people to review their books, I rushed to sign up.

I recently received my (free) copy of The Fiddler.  Surprisingly,  I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything by Beverly Lewis. As a result, I had no expectations for her writing style, the familiar-to-some setting (Hickory Hollow), or her characters.

Overall, I found the plot rather simple. Normally, this description would be interpreted as a complaint, but this is a story about the Amish. Simplicity, in this case, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Fiddler centers on two protagonists. The first is 24-year-old Amelia Devries, a world-renowned classical violinist who moonlights as a fiddler under the stage name “Amy Lee.” The second is a 25-year-old man named Michael Hostetler who is torn between his desire to become English (or “fancy”) and his parents’ wishes for him to join the Amish church.

There are two main sources of conflict. After the protagonists meet in the first few chapters, I had no doubt there would be tension surrounding when, where, and how they would fall in love and make their relationship work. The second source of conflict was slightly less predictable. Both protagonists spend the majority of the novel struggling to decide whether or not they should pursue their own dreams or submit to their parents’ wishes for their lives. As a 26-year-old mom and wife, I felt this identity crisis would be more realistic if the characters were a few years younger. If the characters were, indeed, younger, then this novel could easily fall under the category of Young-Adult fiction.

As the main characters work through their respective dilemmas, they interact with several minor characters. Characters like the “Wise Woman,” Ella Mae Zook, and Joanna Kurtz, an Amish girl who is friend to both Michael and Amelia, make me interested to read more from the “Home to Hickory Hollow” series. In fact, I would pick up the next book just in hopes of hearing more about Joanna’s mysterious beau. However, I have no interest in hearing more about Michael or Amelia. I feel as though their stories are complete.

I would recommend this book to someone looking for an easy read with a sweet story and little to no drama or intense conflict. It neither put me to sleep nor made me want to stay up all night reading.

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