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The Recital

The Recital

4.5 4
by Robert Elmer

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New Song, Second Verse

Gerrit and Joan discovered the beauty of second chances when they fell in love. But life isn’t “happily ever after” when the widowed dairy farmer and big-city piano teacher get married. When they move to Chicago to pursue a teaching opportunity for Joan, Gerrit the country boy must find new purpose in an unfamiliar


New Song, Second Verse

Gerrit and Joan discovered the beauty of second chances when they fell in love. But life isn’t “happily ever after” when the widowed dairy farmer and big-city piano teacher get married. When they move to Chicago to pursue a teaching opportunity for Joan, Gerrit the country boy must find new purpose in an unfamiliar urban world. It’s not an easy change for him, but his friendship with Zhao, a visiting Chinese musician, begins to give him new purpose. Meanwhile, Joan tries to accept her husband for who he is, even as she struggles to find her place as a music professor in this clash between small-town values and big-city ways.

In this poignant sequel to The Duet, Joan and Gerrit redefine the meaning of love and home as they learn painful new lessons about mutual sacrifice.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Recital

“With his characteristic mix of humor and heart, Robert Elmer delivers another gem in The Recital. Read it and be warmed.”
–James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Presumed Guilty

“Robert Elmer writes a great love story, not a romance, but a real make you laugh and make you cry love story based on a twist of the old whither thou goest principle.  In The Recital, we meet real live characters who take you with them on their journey to make love work. From country small town to big city life, I was rooting for Gerrit and Joan all the way.  Thanks Bob for a great story.”
–Lauraine Snelling, author of Saturday Morning and Brushstrokes Legacy

“Robert Elmer has another winner!  His characters come alive and make you feel as though you are catching a glimpse of the lives of real people.” 
–Patricia H. Rushford, author of the Angel Delaney Mysteries

“Robert Elmer's mastery of dialogue captures his characters on paper, whether they be a Dutch descendant farmer, a concert pianist, or a Chinese student in Chicago. He also captures their hearts and reveals them to the reader. The Recital is engaging and compelling, speaking the everyday language of the Christian walk. A must-read!”
–Donita K. Paul, author of the Dragon Keeper Chronicles: DragonSpell, DragonQuest, and DragonKnight

“Move over Mitford...Robert Elmer has cornered the market on ‘charming’! The Recital hits all the right notes. I loved it.”
–Roxanne Henke, author of After Anne and With Love, Libby, part of the Coming Home to Brewster series

The Recital had me in tears, laughing out loud and everything in between. It’s not often that a sequel measures up to its predecessor, but I think The Recital may even surpass The Duet–and that’s saying a lot! An absolutely wonderful read!”
–Deborah Raney, author of A Vow to Cherish and A Nest of Sparrows

Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Random House
File size:
2 MB

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The Recital

By Robert Elmer

Random House

Robert Elmer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 140007164X

Chapter One

Are you okay, Mrs. Horton?"
"Oh!" The question yanked Joan from her brooding daydream.
"Of course. Sure."
She almost bit her tongue at the lie. Little Anna DeBoer looked up at her sideways from her perch on the piano bench, her cute little feet not quite reaching the pedals.
"When I get that way," said Anna, eyes wide and innocent, "my mom tells me that I need more sleep and that I should get to bed."
"Smart mom you have." Joan smiled and returned her attention to the lesson. If daydreams were felonies, she would soon be under arrest. "So why don't you try the right hand through to measure six this time?"
Her youngest piano student willingly attacked the keyboard, blending sour notes with sweet. Mostly sour. This time Joan did her best to keep time as Anna struggled through "Itsy Bitsy Yellow Bug," a simple tune in Anderson's Basic Piano: Book One.
So sorry, Anna, but today your piano teacher can concentrate on only one thing at a time: you, the lesson, or the letter. Not all three at once.
Thoughts of the letter threatened to take over every minute of her time. Joan glanced furtively down at her watch and wondered how in the world her concentration had eroded so much and so quickly this afternoon.
Is this what happens to multitasking when people approach sixty? Never mind.
She would survive thislesson, the last of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day--as a well-loved children's book put it. Then she would finish heating the Cajun chicken-and-sausage casserole she'd started and enjoy a nice dinner with Gerrit. Or as nice as it could be, given the circumstances. In any case, Gerrit would probably show up at her doorstep any minute now. But no matter what, she would not let herself worry about how she would respond to the letter, the offer she received in the mail this afternoon. Not now; not today.
"We're getting it right, aren't we?" Anna had no idea how close her teacher was to screaming.
"Almost." Joan couldn't help wincing at the C-natural that should have been a C-sharp.
"Stop?" asked Anna.
While stopping would have been wonderful, Joan shook her head.
"No, no," she told her student. "Keep going, please."
As Anna continued, Joan battled her own poor attitude. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, she prayed. Anna, for her part, still couldn't seem to get the rhythm down. She sniffed and looked around, mightily distracted herself. Joan wondered for a moment if they shouldn't just end the lesson a few merciful minutes early after all and call it a day. Enough damage had already been done.
"Do you smell something burning, Mrs. Horton?"
Joan turned the page and paused. Anna's mother charged through the front door just then, punctual as usual. Instead of her usual polite smile, though, Mrs. DeBoer wore a panicked expression as she dashed in and grabbed her daughter.
"Where's the fire?" cried Mrs. DeBoer.
"Oh no! " Joan leaped to her feet at the sound of the smoke alarm, nearly knocking Anna down. The music book flew off its perch. "My dinner!"
Joan was too busy rushing into her smoke-filled kitchen to answer Mrs. DeBoer's questions. All she could think to do was open the oven to find out what was going on, which turned out to be Mistake Number One.
A cloud of thick black smoke poured from the oven, hitting Joan in the face.
"Call 911!" shrieked Anna, but her mother held her back.
Smart mom, Joan thought. "No!" Joan said, coughing. She could handle this...maybe. She tried to wave a towel at the disaster, which only splattered smoking Cajun sauce all over the hot oven, making matters
worse. She should have closed the oven and shut off the gas, but that would have been a level-headed response, and at the moment, there were no level heads in Joan Horton's kitchen. Besides, it was too late now. Where was a man when you needed him?
Baking soda! Long ago some home-economics teacher had once told her that baking soda would put out a fire like this. Joan covered her mouth and nose with the towel while she tried to remember where the baking soda was. Meanwhile, the smoke alarm kept up its insistent skreeeeing, and little Anna added to the noise level any way she could with unintelligible shouts and yelps. Her mother wasn't much better, skipping at the edge of the linoleum and waving a music book in the air in a feeble attempt to circulate the smoke away from the alarm's sensor. By this time they had succeeded in attracting the attention of the Van Dalen Fire Department. No doubt Mrs. DeLeeuw next door had called in the alarm. She'd never missed a thing before, especially not after Gerrit had started visiting Joan on occasions other than his own piano lessons and those of his granddaughter, Mallory. Sure enough, even above the smoke alarm, Joan could now hear Van Dalen's finest hurrying up Delft Street in her direction, coming to the rescue of the poor widow from New York who still didn't know how to cook anything that wasn't store boughten. Oh yes, Joan thought, she was sure to make the front page of the next Van Dalen Sentinel.
"Burned-Out Music Teacher Torches House with Scorched Dinner."

Excerpted from The Recital by Robert Elmer Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Robert Elmer is the author of The Duet, The Celebrity, and the HyperLinkz youth series. He’s also written four other popular youth series with combined sales of over a half million. He always enjoys visiting Chicago, the setting for The Recital, and lived in the area as a child. Robert now lives with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Recital 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
The Recital is a lower key story than I usually read, but very touching and sweet. The more I got to know the characters the more I liked them. The hero in the story was a tender hearted farmer and the heroine was a big city musician who was in her element teaching students at Gaylord in Chicago. The story started out pretty hilarious with the heroine, Joan, burning a meal for her sweetheart. Then came marriage and a move. I enjoyed experiencing the adjustments the older couple had to make as newleyweds. Some parts were sweet, yet flirtatious and fun. Other sections of the story were sentimental and spirited, especially their sparring on occasion. Overall, I grew to care about the characters so much that I got all choked up at the end. What a gripping story. It made me think about life, love, and enjoying the moment. I'm glad I stuck with this novel and highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Recital By: Robert Elmer Some books are read to absorb, others to study and still others for times of quiet. The book The Recital by Robert Elmer is like treating yourself to a recital for your mind. When you open the front cover and begin to read, time will pass quickly and you will not want to put it down. Joan Horton and Gerrit Appledoorn are two very different people with very different backgrounds and a very strong love for each other. Somewhere in the pages of the book they become real, believable people in your mind. Like bass notes blend with treble notes and form a beautiful composition, their lives blend. Joan is a concert pianist in a small Dutch town in Washington state. Gerrit is a retired farmer. The two travel a journey into marriage that leads them from the comfortable community Gerrit knows to the city life in Chicago that Joan loves. Joan learns the depth of a man¿s heart when he is devoted to his wife. Gerrit learns when you spend too much time looking to the past you may miss the beauty of the present. Through the laughter, tears, heartaches and joys they learn the true meaning of cleaving to one another. This is a love story, a life story. It will make you laugh and cry. The characters captivate and drive you forward. When the last page is turned and the book is closed, your heart hears the recital and you will need to hug someone you love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Baby Boomer generation is changing the definition of retirement. Younger at heart than their parents at the same age, fifty is the new thirty, and love can be just as exciting the second time around. And it comes with its own set of difficulties, including new careers. Robert Elmer serves up a love story with a side helping of humor in this delightful tale of a second marriage as Gerrit and Joan explore their differences and similarities. I laughed at their 'mixed marriage' discussions, comparing his Dutch Reformed to her fundamentalist Nazarene as they lobbed scripture-grenades at each other. But I was most impressed by Elmer's deep understanding of Joan and her psyche. There wasn't a moment in this novel where I didn't believe her thoughts and feelings. His distinct voice for each character remained true throughout the book. His characters are flawed, real people who will steal your heart as they put off their pasts and go forward, often with disastrous results. I didn't read The Duet, and I'll go back and do so, but it's not necessary to fully enjoy this book. Funny and tender, this is a definite recommended read.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Widower farmer Gerrit Appledorn and New York Gaylord School of Music teacher and concert pianist Joan Marie Horton have fallen in love (see THE DUET) in his hometown of Van Dalen, Washington. They met when, to earn money while spending time with her pregnant daughter, Joan Marie fills in for piano teacher Linda Klopstra, who is in Romania for a year his granddaughter is one of her students. They marry, but she has opportunities to teach piano in Chicago.----------- Gerrit is a farm boy all his life the big city is not for him, but he also believes he must not stifle Joan¿s prospects in Chicago in fact he feels he must encourage her. Will geographic differences end the loving relationship between the big city musician and the rural farmer or can they find a compromise?------------- The sequel to the virtuoso THE DUET, THE RECITAL is an intriguing realistic relationship drama that focuses on whether love is enough when the participants come from lifestyles that are 180 degrees apart. The issue centers on whether compromise means one or both give up their essence as consensus is out of reach. Fans of character studies with no love s will conquer all answer will appreciate Robert Elmer¿s deep look at opposites attract once the couple moves past the glamour.--------- Harriet Klausner