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The First Violin

Jessie Fothergill

Book Overview: 

May Wedderburn is a quiet provincial girl, living in small and seemingly boring Skernford. Underneath the dull exterior, there is mystery, suspicion and fear in this little town, surrounding the austere local wealthy landowner who is very interested in marrying poor May. It looks as though she will have to marry him whether she likes it or not until an unsuspected alliance is formed between her and a respected old lady. They both escape to Germany where music and excitement await them.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I met him one day, not in the street, but in the house, on the stairs. He sprung up the steps, two at a time, came to a momentary pause on the landing, and looked at me. No look of surprise, none of recognition. He raised his hat; that was nothing; in ordinary politeness he would have done it had he never seen me in his life before. The same cold, bright, hard glance fell upon me, keen as an eagle’s, and as devoid of every gentle influence as the same.

I silently held out my hand.

He looked at it for a moment, then with a grave coolness which chilled me to the soul, murmured something about “not having the honor,” bowed slightly, and stepping forward, walked into Vincent’s room.

[Pg 77]

I was going to the room in which my piano stood, where I had my music lessons, for they had told me that Herr von Francius was waiting. I looked at him as I went into the room. How different he was from that other man; darker, more . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This holds up on every re-read! It's an enthralling tale of romance and music set in the late 1800s, mostly in Germany, and I realized this time through that it reminds me A LOT of Charlotte Bronte's works.
Previous review:

I loved, loved, l

I feel somewhat cheated that I never felt the magic of this that Tweety and Alisha felt. I was looking for something... more and was never quite satisfied. Bummer.

As I have expected I am joining a group of fans of this superb novel. And it is a noble group. Thanks to Tweety and Alisha Trenalone I have read it and I thank you both very much.

It is one of this books which are deeply moving.

The reader is discovering world of music and German culture (especially

This Victorian romance and mystery is very hard to describe because it is so filled with characters that touched me in so many ways. From the beginning you learn about May Wedderburn. The seventeen year old daughter of the local pastor. She is offered an unpleasant opportunity and earns the repriman

I really enjoyed this book and would be happy to see it turned into a movie or mini-series.


Oh, this glorious book! Having finished I had to go back and reread my favorite passages. This is the kind of book that leaves you unable and unwilling to start another book for fear it won't be as good. In fact, I'm sure that anything I pick up after this will seem 'lesser'.

The plot:
This is

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