Second Fiddle,by Rosanne Parry
I finally got around to reading Second Fiddle, the middle-grade novel written by a long-time friend from our church, Rosanne Parry. Years ago Rosanne invited Mike to join her children's writers' group (which has been a great boost and encouragement for him), so she's been a great help to Mike in his own writing career.
Second Fiddle's focus on orchestral music and girls' friendship drew me in and kept me hooked through the novel. Jody is an army kid in Berlin, Germany, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She plays second violin in a string trio with her more sophisticated friends Giselle and Vivian; however, Giselle and Jody are due to return to the U.S. soon and Jody is feeling sad that their trio collaborations are about to come to an end.
Their last big hurrah is meant to be a solo and ensemble competition in Paris, but their music teacher falls ill and cannot accompany them. Just as they are nursing their disappointment about the thwarted Parisian trip, they venture into East Berlin to have gelato...and inadvertently witness an attempted murder of a Soviet Union soldier.
They rescue Arvo (who is actually Estonian) out of the river and revive him. In the ensuing days, they nurse him back to health as he hides under the bridge in East Berlin. Then they come up with a plan: why not go to Paris with Arvo disguised as their music teacher? Then he can meet other Estonians and return to his country.
They get into all sorts of adventures in Paris, and girls especially will enjoy reading about the friendship among the three young musicians. Rosanne has a special knack about writing about military families, because of her experience as part of a military family herself. (She lived in Berlin around the time the novel was set with her soldier husband and baby.) She also illustrated this knack and sensitivity in her first published novel, Heart of a Shepherd. Her web site has some great resources and tips for military families--and for supporting friends in military families.
Second Fiddle made me want to pick up my violin again! Stay tuned for an interview with Rosanne and a book giveaway in March, in time for the paperback release of Second Fiddle.