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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Duet Paperback – February 17, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sweet, well-written contemporary Christian novel about a romance between a widow and a widower, Elmer (the author of several popular CBA youth series) shows he can pen a good yarn for adults as well as kids. Joan Marie Horton has left Long Island to use her sabbatical year teaching piano in the Dutch Reformed town of Van Dalen, Wash., where she hopes to spend time with her daughter and son-in-law, who are expecting a baby. When a piano student's handsome grandfather, retired dairy farmer and widower Gerrit Appeldoom, tags along for his granddaughter's lessons, Joan awakens his aptitude for music-as well as some other emotions he'd thought were permanently buried. As their romance unfolds, Elmer paints a detailed picture of the challenges of life for an outsider in a Dutch Reformed community. There's a nice underpinning of spiritual angst: Appeldoom, a stubborn Calvinist, begins to realize that his ideas about "God's will" may be the manifestation of his own fears and desires, while Joan "has no idea how to refloat the shipwrecks of her guilt-ridden life." Although the subplot of her son Randy's downward spiral is less engaging, competent writing, interesting characters and the quirky backdrop of Van Dalen keep the pages turning. While some readers may find Joan's fate too self-abnegating, this is an enjoyable story, laced with humor.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Will retired dairy farmer Gerrit Vandekamp get together with sophisticated piano teacher Joan Horton? Of course, because beauty and the beast can have only one outcome in romances. And yet The Duet stands out from its colleagues because of Elmer's wry delivery and his knack for characterization. For instance, there's Gerrit' s grandson, Warney, the runt of the litter and yet the smartest, who's taken over the farm and is more skilled at it than Gerrit, but whose talents are never recognized. Gerrit has worries: his health is poor, and he sees little he likes in modern life; Joan, so assured outwardly, is running from her past. When she begins giving Gerrit piano lessons, both teacher and pupil have much to learn--and to forget. John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook; 1 edition (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578567408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578567409
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,321,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin on March 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This novel made me want to settle down in a small town like Van Dalen and get to know all my neighbors. Robert Elmer made music with words while writing The Duet. I look forward to reading more of his fiction. I especially appreciated how he wrote about matters of theology that different Protestant denominations often quibble about, helping me understand things I hadn't understood before. And although I learned as I read, I never felt like I was being taught. It was simply part of the story. I loved that.
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Format: Paperback
A retired dairy farmer and a college professor ... the most unlikely couple you could find.

But not in THE DUET. Here you will find not only Gerrit Appledoorn and Joan Horton, but also a charmingly written novel that will have you smiling from cover to cover.

Gerrit Appledoorn is the retired dairy farmer, struggling with too much time on his hands, a computer that won't co-operate, and a family crisis.

Joan Horton is the college professor on a year's sabbatical. She arrives in rural Van Dalen to be closer to her pregnant daughter and immediately takes up as the new piano teacher.

Gerrit's granddaughter, Mallory, is a student of Joan's, but as time goes by, Gerrit is also drawn to the music, leaving room for a sweet story of romance in the senior years. But Joan has a secret from the past, one that is about to catch up with her and possibly destroy any happiness on the horizon.

Weave into this the subplot of different denomination acceptance and you have a beautifully layered story that will keep you enthralled.

THE DUET is a wonderful witty novel full of lovable and memorable characters. At first I was a little dubious. Robert Elmer wasn't an author I associated with adult romantic fiction. After all, my six-year-old daughter loves his AstroKid's series. How does a children's writer cross over to adult fiction? Remarkably well, if Mr Elmer is anything to go by. He now has two fans in our house.

What's a Dubbel Zout, you ask? Hey, go read the book! You'll find out.
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Format: Paperback
I really was not sure what to expect from this novel. I've read many of his juvenile and youth books, and all are exciting, with twists and turns that keep the reader hooked. Well, I can tell you right now, Robert Elmer's first novel written for those over fifteen years old is wonderful!
The setting, that of a tiny, close-knit farming community in the Northwest, was admittedly foreign to me since I've lived in the midsouth since I was small. Like the New York-raised piano teacher in the book, it took me a while to understand and warm up to these Dutch-heritage farmers. But the more I read, the more I liked. By the middle of the book, I was absolutely hooked, both on the people, and what was happening.
Although it's a romance, it's not your usual fare. The two main characters, worlds apart in their cultural backgrounds, are up in years, and have seen a lot of life...and death. But this aspect of the story makes it all the sweeter and more satisfying to this baby-boomer.
Congratulations to Robert Elmer. Your first novel is a winner! I hope we hear more from you!
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Format: Paperback
With a warmth like "Mitford", yet a unique style, amusing humor, and pleasant charm all its own, The Duet by Robert Elmer captured my heart. I found myself rolling with laughter one moment and misty-eyed the next as I journeyed with characters, Gerrit and Joan through their grief, joys, prayers and hopes.
The Duet is about two widowed adults from opposite spectrums of life who find that they really have quite a lot in common. Whether you are young or old, musical or not, you will find that you can relate to Gerrit, Joan and their families and be inspired to find answers to life's problems in Jesus Christ.
I trust that this is only the beginning of many more delightful Christian adult novels by Robert Elmer!
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Format: Paperback
The Duet is a charming novel set in the fictitious town of Van Dalen, Washington. With a thinly disguised Lynden as the background, author Robert Elmer shares the story of two very different families as they struggle through painful, life altering events.

Elmer deftly offers Joan Horton as one of the novel's main characters. Joan, a music professor from New York, moves to Van Dalen for a one-year sabbatical. As she battles between her prim and proper façade and steadfast belief in her own inadequacy, Joan is determined to accept her husband's death and her son's downward spiral into depression. While Joan's son and daughter are secondary characters, they serve the novel well in capturing Joan's emotions and presenting a well-rounded picture of this self-doubting matriarch.

Gerrit Appeldoorn, a retired dairy farmer and staunch Calvinist, becomes Joan's reluctant piano student. Rooted deeply in his faith, Gerrit is quite set in his ways and does not flinch at the prospect of telling others how they should live their lives. Despite his sometimes curmudgeonly attitude, Gerrit is a likeable, old school gentleman.

Gerrit and Joan, both suffering from the loss of a beloved spouse, come together as friends, learning about each other's different backgrounds and beliefs. Predictably, they lean on each other for companionship and support, barely aware of the emerging relationship between them.

Elmer, who has primarily been a children's author, successfully provides the adult reader with an interesting, relatable romance. His characters are well defined and likeable, creating a genuine fondness for the families who are lovingly depicted. While the plot is somewhat predictable, Elmer skillfully draws the reader in through the use of articulate language, realistic dialogue and appealing descriptions. In addition to an already well written novel, Elmer sprinkles in famous quotes that bring added charm and breadth to the story.
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