I picked this book up because of two things, neither really a good reason to pick up a book, but both seem to work for me. First, the cover. Evocative and very cool looking, almost spooky in a Louisiana scares me sort of way. Second, the era of the book was the Revolutionary War, a time period I feel that is just lacking any exploration in any media…just seems like we have forgotten this period and all the coolness that happened then.
The book is the extraordinary tale of one girl’s journey from a no-name orphan into a world of adventure. The author’s writing is easy to read and not a challenge to understand the action going on in many of the scenes. He has an good style that lends itself to the subject matter and simply make you forget about the historical inaccuracies and even some of the implausible situations the heroine finds herself in.
The books’s blurb:
America is on the brink of war with England, and Fin Button is about to come undone. She’s had it with the dull life of the orphanage, and she’s ready to marry Peter and get away from rules, chores, and a life looked after by the ever-watchful Sister Hilde. But an unexpected friendship forms between Fin and the fiddle-playing cook, Bartimaeus, which sets her on a course for revolution.
With Bart’s beloved fiddle and haunting blunderbuss as her only possessions, Fin discovers her first taste of freedom as a sailor aboard the Rattlesnake. She’s hiding some dark secrets, but there are bigger problems for the crew—they are on the run from the Royal Navy, and whispers of mutiny are turning the captain into a tyrant.
When Fin finally returns home, will she find Peter still waiting, or will she find that she’s lost everything she once held dear?
The book is roughly 300 pages and opens with the young girl and her daily routine in the orphanage. It gets into a bit of coming of age as she realizes love, wanting more from her life, and rebelling against the nuns that try to force her to be an upstanding woman who will someday run a house and bear children. At first, this is appalling to her, much preferring to wrestle and punch with the boys. After a series of mistakes she ends up working in the kitchen with the interesting cook who has a mysterious past, and the titular fiddle. And thus begins the adventure.
I will say the first one hundred odd pages are a battle to get through, at least for me. They really delve into the girl, Fin, growing up, realizing she is falling in love, and yearning to spend her life with one of the other orphans that has made a name for himself in the town. This part I honestly had to battle through. It was slow and tough going.
Once that part is through, the book literally takes off and becomes a huge page turner. I took extra long lunches to get through them and not wanting the book to end. The wandering tale and the extraordinary situations and people she meets is excellent. I do not want to give away too much of the story, but as can be surmised from the cover and the blurb, there be pirates here! And if you like pirates, you will love the last 2/3rds of this book. It is full of swashbuckling action that leaves you wanting to watch another pirate movie.
I would give this book four stars. Yes the first third is a challenge to struggle through (especially if you are a grown male) but once you get through this, the book is well worth it. I will certainly be picking up the second book in the series and reading it as well.
The author maintains a website with more information on the books: http://www.thefiddlersgun.com/