In The Duet by Robert Elmer, Gerrit Appeldoorn is a widower who is supposed to be retired from his dairy farm in the primarily Dutch community of Van Dalen, Washington. But he struggles trying to figure out what he is supposed to do with himself, especially when his son, who has taken over the farm, fusses at him every time he tries to do any of his old chores.
One day he meets his granddaughter’s new piano teacher, widow Joan Horton, and is instantly attracted. Their many differences cause sparks to fly at first: he is staunchly Calvinistic and opinionated, has rarely been outside Van Dalen, and spent most of his life with mud on his boots. She is a Nazarene, citified, not Dutch, refined, a world traveler, on her way to becoming a department head in her university.
In addition, each faces various problems with a son and a major crisis.
I had picked this up because I loved Robert Elmer’s Wildflowers of Terezin (linked to my review) and wanted to check out another of his books. This one has its sweet moments, and I love when a love story involves someone other than the young, svelte, and beautiful, but I didn’t like it quite as well as Wildflowers. Maybe that’s because I found nothing in Gerrit that was appealing to me except his relationship with his granddaughter. But it was a pleasant read and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.