~ The Blurb ~
New from #1 Bestselling Author Beverly Lewis
Amelia "Amy" DeVries, a 24-year-old violinist, is disillusioned with life and love after the collapse of her long-running romance. Weary of endless rehearsals and performances, Amy sets out on a road trip through the Pennsylvania mountains. She leaves her cell phone behind so life's demands can't intrude on her solitude. She doesn't know, nor care, where she will end up.
When her car breaks down deep in the mountains, Amy realizes the flaw in her "no cell phone" plan. She abandons her car and walks the winding roads, searching for help. Following the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of music, she finds a rustic log cabin. There she meets a young Amishman–and through him a community–that will change her life forever.
~ My Thoughts ~
Starting a new Beverly Lewis book is like coming home again after a long trip. There is something so comforting and peaceful about the characters and vivid settings that she is able to create. Each of her books fills me with the same sense of serenity and joy, and I think that is why I keep reading them time and again! The Fiddler was no exception, and this lovely new novel is the perfect addition to the library of any Amish fiction fan.
Many of the common themes from Amish fiction are present in this novel, the struggle to decide to join the Amish church, the pull from the outside (or fancy English) world, and of course a healthy dose of forbidden love. What I absolutely loved about the Fiddler was that Lewis was able to present and explore these themes in a way that felt entirely new. Amelia is a concert violinist who literally stumbles upon Michael’s mountain hideout where he is struggling with the decision to join the Amish church or “go fancy”. After a chance encounter Amelia and Michael feel an incredible connection that they feel to each other but believe that nothing may come of their mutual attraction as they come from such different and uncompromising worlds. Amelia finds herself spending an unforgettable weekend in Hickory Hallow and makes a few very close friends before returning to her old life as a concert violinist, but her weekend living with the plain community affects her far deeper than she ever thought possible.
Amelia was a truly likable character. This is perhaps one of my favorite features of Beverly Lewis’ writing, she is always able to create characters that I am able to connect with and fall in love with. I couldn’t help but find myself completely wrapped up in Amelia’s story and her struggles. Having such a worldly character among the Amish in this novel not only provided an interesting contrast and excellent tension but it also allowed the reader to experience some of the aspects of Amish life as an outsider instead of being fully immersed in it. Michael was also a wonderful character and it was a nice change to see the struggle to decide to join church as told from the male perspective, as it is usually the female characters that are torn between their decision to join church or join the English world.
I found the storyline to be quite unique in the way that Amelia’s fiddling was so intertwined into the story. It was an interesting contrast to have the Amish way of life and Amelia and Michael’s modern ways come together in so many ways. For me this made the story extremely realistic and modern, and didn’t glorify or idealize the Amish way of life as can sometimes happen. The friendship between Amelia and Johanna showcased these differences beautifully and it was remarkable to see how they were able to make such a close friendship work despite their drastically different world views.
The Fiddler is a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the Amish Fiction genre. Lewis masterfully blends the “English” and “plain” worlds together to create a story of love, family ties, friendship, faith and acceptance.
I received finished copy of The Fiddler via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.