And though the spirited cry of the fiddler’s song blew through others and around the room and everything in it, Fin sat at the heart of it. It poured into her. It found room in the closets and hollow places of her soul to settle and root. It planted seeds: courage, resolve, steadfastness. Fin gulped it in, seized it, held it fast. She needed it, had thirsted for it all her days. She saw the road ahead of her, and though she didn’t understand it or comprehend her part in it, she knew that she needed the ancient and reckless power of a holy song to endure it.
Fiddler’s Green is not a safe book. It does not easily fall into one particular category like romantic adventure, juvenile fantasy, or even historical fiction. Rather it transcends genre and ends up much closer to the definition of classic literature.
In the follow up novel to his debut The Fiddler’s Gun A.S. Peterson gives us the rest of the story of Fin Button, orphan girl turned lady pirate during the time of the American Revolution. I knew, based on my experience the first time around, I would love the writing in this book. I knew that Fin would continue to be a character I could relate to and admire. I knew the story would be heavy with themes of redemption and restoration and characters filled to bursting with life and color. I knew the author possessed a Christian worldview and a depth of knowledge I could trust. And I knew, expected even, that the road home for Fin would be full of twists and turns, pleasant surprises and heartbreaking disappointments. In other words, a lot like real life.
What I did not expect, was how much fun I would have along the way. I could not have known how much I would learn about parts of the world I may never get to see. And I had forgotten the sheer bliss of reading passage after passage of deftly written, beautifully woven prose. But most of all, I underestimated the affect Fin’s story would have on my heart and the dream she would give me that hope can be more real, and true, than my own limited experience of it.
Fiddler’s Green surprised me again with its willingness to confront darkness without glorifying it and to paint realistic pictures whose shady corners accentuate the light of God’s love and power. It is evident that Peterson believes in a God who is intimately concerned with the details of our lives. Without being heavy handed, he shows how the events of Fin’s life are no accident. She is a blessed woman and the fire in her heart is brighter and redder than even the hair on her head.
How does an orphan, one who is not chosen and loved, become a woman of compassion and justice? How does someone who runs away from everything she’s afraid of learn to confront the scarier life she finds in the process? How does the dirty prodigal find her way to a warm, clean home? The answer is a struggle and Fin makes plenty of mistakes along the way, but if you give her a chance your heart will grow with her story and her song may even become your very own Ebenezer.