If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.
Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness.
But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets.
In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.
Shady Grove is still dealing with the grief from her fathers death. Her only saving Grace is her Fiddle and being able to play with her best friends Sarah and Orlando, but no matter how hard she tries she cant seem to make her music sounds like her daddy’s used too and his Fiddle disappeared when he died. One day she starts hearing music from the woods, an old and eerie song that her father used to play, one that calls to her though she doesn’t understand why. When her brother gets accused of a crime she is sure her didn’t commit she knows what she has to do, find her daddy’s Fiddle to bring the ghosts to her. Only Shady doesn’t understand the true power of the fiddle and it might be more than her brothers life at risk if she plays it.
I had literally no assumptions going into this book, no idea what it would be like, and you can tell I didn’t properly read the premise because I didn’t realise it was set in the modern day. However, the blend of the magical and the world we all know and (sometimes) love was breathtaking, how the author wove the two together was brilliantly done. Magic isn’t something normal for most people, but Shady remembers her father raising ghosts, the feel of them in her old house, She remembers the nightmares she used to have of wasps and a little girl screaming on her ceiling, and a shadow man sneaking into her room and choking her into waking. To most people, this would make her weird, someone different and her two best friends certainly don’t believe in the paranormal, until sometimes happens that means they can’t hide behind their cynicism anymore. It was such fresh idea and almost a blend of magical realism and fantasy.
Shady was a characters I instantly bonded with. Still not over the death of her father, she resents her mother moving them out of their old house and into a caravan with her new husband. She just wants to play bluegrass with her two best friends, and maybe, just maybe start something else with Sarah. So when she meets Cedar and he suggests she should come play with him and his sister, Shady has no idea how that simple request will change her whole outlook on life. She is brilliantly resilient, even when faced with the direst odds, and she is more than willing to risk her own life if that means she can clear her brothers name.
The big theme in this book is grief. How it can eclipse you, how it can take over your life until your life isn’t your own, and how overcoming that grief can be harder than living with it. It shows grief through two generations, Shady’s after the death of her father and her fathers own grief that led him to the fiddle in the first place. There were parts of this book that had me in tears, especially when we get to the final realisation at the end, and there were parts where I felt we wouldn’t get the happy ending I desperately wanted. The author deals with grief so well, but I would warn anyone who has lost a loved one recently that there are parts that could be triggering.
The writing in this book was just *mwah*. Lyrical, atmospheric and completely haunting, I was trapped in this book from the first page and found it hard to get myself out of its grasps, even after finishing the last page. You get transported to Florida, in the little Caravan Shady lives in. I could hear the Cicada’s singing and the eerie notes coming from the wood followed me into my dreams. It’s been a while since I was this wholly gripped by a book, and it is one that will stay with me long after finishing it.
I may have found a new favourite author and the fact that this is a debut is astounding to me. There is not one part of this book that I did not like, and I will certainly be picking up the authors next work.