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The Music Shop

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A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy


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A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

46 review for The Music Shop

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    ‘’The silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.’’ The blurb of this beautiful book contained two words that won me over on the spot. ‘’Music’’ and ‘’1980s’’. I was born in 1985, so technically, I am a child of the 90s, but I think that these two decades share the same spirit of a certain kind of innocence, before the coming of the new millennium and all the ‘’gifts’’ it brought (yeah, right…) I’m not a big fan of the music that conquered the 8 ‘’The silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.’’ The blurb of this beautiful book contained two words that won me over on the spot. ‘’Music’’ and ‘’1980s’’. I was born in 1985, so technically, I am a child of the 90s, but I think that these two decades share the same spirit of a certain kind of innocence, before the coming of the new millennium and all the ‘’gifts’’ it brought (yeah, right…) I’m not a big fan of the music that conquered the 80s, but when I happen to listen to a chart-hit of the era, I travel back to my childhood and the parties when we were 9-10 years old. Joyce pays homage to the beauty of the vinyls, the nostalgia that is connected with them, before the shiny CDs took over. Personally, I never liked cassettes, although God knows we had more than we could count. In this story, we find ourselves in London, during the last years of the 80s and in a music shop that sells vinyls exclusively. Frank, the owner, is surrounded by a quirky set of characters who aid him in his struggle to keep the spirit of the neighbourhood alive against modernity. One day, a lovely young woman, wearing a green coat and with her hands hidden in gloves, faints right outside his shop. And his life begins to change. Now, the blurb may make us think that this is going to be a light, carefree read. Essentially, a romance. It isn’t. Not entirely, at least. And most definitely, it is not a romance. It is a story that contains a heart-warming, tender, well-constructed relationship, but to call it a ‘’’romance’’ wouldn’t do it justice. In my opinion, this is Contemporary Quirky Fiction at its best. (...I just made up a genre in order to justify my silly definition, but anway…) Each character, from Frank to Ilse, to the various customers who have been helped by him, is integral to the story. There are personal stories of sadness and pain, of hope and joy and remembrance, people trying to soothe their wounds and keep the memories alive through music. This is what Frank regards as his mission. The characters of Frank and Ilse are the best example of how an author can create a romantic relationship that will touch even the sworn enemies of anything romance-related (...that is moi…) Frank is loyal to his job, somewhat a loner in the extreme, and perhaps a bit too empathetic and stuck to the past. A realistic protagonist that you wish you had as your friend back in that day. Ilse is sensitive, bright, kind and with a heavy dose of mystery trailing behind her.Initially, I thought there would have been an element of magical realism in her, that’s how ethereal and mysterious she seemed. Father Anthony (loved him to piece, he is everything a priest is supposed to be), Kit and Maud consist Frank’s ‘’gang’’ and they are as sympathetic and weird as you can get. Maud wasn’t much to my liking, I didn’t have any sympathy for her attitude, but to each their own…I am a bit of a potty-mouth myself, but she seemed to be continually disrespectful Joyce writes in a manner that is immediate, fresh and lyrical at the same time. She provides a treat for every lover of music. At the mention of every composer, every singer, every band, I could hear the notes partying (or waltzing or praying) in my head. I was reminded of all the extraordinary music creations the human mind has conceived. Even the quality pop-rock of the 1980s and the 90s...So it triggers a major level of nostalgia for an era when a singer didn't have to appear on stage, dressed only in the underwear or in a meat-dress in order to become famous or to make up for the lack of any talent. I give extra points for the reference to ‘’Beata Viscera’’, my favourite hymn to the Virgin Mary. Also bonus points for what I consider the most beautiful piece to come from Iceland, 'Heyr, Himna Smiður'. For me, the major question of the novel has to do with the strength of our principles. Frank refuses to go with the flow, if it means betraying his ideals and all he is living for.Why should modern times demand of someone to become an altogether different person? Why should we offend what we don’t agree with and look down on those we consider ‘’old school’’? This is very relevant in our current times with politics, religion, society in general. Some of us stick to certain values. If others consider it ‘’Ancient History’’ that’s all very well, but respecting different opinions should be a bidirectional thing. So, as you see, this book definitely gives you plenty to think about. This is a book that will appeal to practically everyone. The music lovers, the fans of the 80s, the followers of the vinyls, the Londonphiles, the readers who wish for a contemporary read with something to say and themes we can all relate to. I even forgave the somewhat ‘’cheesy’’ ending:) ‘’I heard the things you told me. The birds and the storm and a dog barking. I heard a summer day.Thunder. I heard the wind. People slipping on ice, and then falling asleep by the fire.’’ Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is a 2018 Random House publication. A quirky, but sweet love story wrapped inside a loving ode to music- I love stories like this one where a group of people, from various walks of life, all of whom are misfits or eccentric in one way or another, but are kind and giving souls, converge to create a delightful and unique tale of friendship and love. The music shop is the absolute perfect backdrop for such a story, reminding us of how important a role music, of all ki The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is a 2018 Random House publication. A quirky, but sweet love story wrapped inside a loving ode to music- I love stories like this one where a group of people, from various walks of life, all of whom are misfits or eccentric in one way or another, but are kind and giving souls, converge to create a delightful and unique tale of friendship and love. The music shop is the absolute perfect backdrop for such a story, reminding us of how important a role music, of all kinds, plays in our lives. The story is set in the mid-eighties, in London, where Frank has set up an indie music shop, in a neighborhood struggling to survive in rapidly changing times. As the story opens, we watch in fascinated awe as Frank shows off his unique talent of choosing just the right song for his customers, even if they are initially skeptical. He is never wrong and wins the utmost respect of his clients, who have discovered artists and songs they never would have otherwise, thanks to Frank. But, an ominous threat is hanging over Frank’s shop- CD’s. While vinyl is being aggressively shoved out of the way in favor of compact discs, Frank steadfastly refuses to sell them. He pays a high cost for his stubbornness as fewer people will work with him or they charge him more money for their products. But, life will turn on a dime, when a woman faints in front of his shop. Her name is Ilse Brauchmann, and she cast an uneasy charm on Frank, his shop, and in fact the entire neighborhood. From here, the reader will watch as Frank and Ilse form a wobbly relationship that slowly develops into something much more substantial. But, despite the sincerity and strength of those feelings, old abuses and disappointments may stymie their development and growth. Can they admit their feelings for each other or will unforeseen circumstance tear them apart for good? Movies often release soundtracks, so why can’t we do the same with books? How cool would that be? This book has a definitive musical backdrop that would make a great addition to anyone’s playlist, especially if you love the eighties. The music fit perfectly alongside the eccentric, damaged, and wounded souls in this story, who fight on moral grounds, who were like a family, despite their eccentricities. Some people adapt and change with the times, accepting the inevitable, while others fight against it with nobility, even if it ends up in futility. Yet, there are occasions, despite the odds, they still manage to carve out a niche for themselves, never having to sacrifice their own convictions. Frank was like that, and I admired his tenacity, in standing up to corporate pressure the way he did. I loved all the characters featured in this story, all of whom were flawed in some way, all with heavy burdens to bear, making it easy to sympathize with them. While the story has that oddball quirkiness to it, that whimsical and nostalgic quality that feels so charming, wry humor and a few laugh out loud moments, there is a dark undertone to the story, that our brain acknowledges, but it is so offset by the tone, the bark feels worse than the bite, but it hangs in the air like a thundercloud that refuses to dissipate. It does seem to take an inordinately long time before the sun finally pokes through those clouds. There was one issue I had with the story, which was the whiplash inducing slamming on of the brakes to one section of the story, disrupting the continuity- which left me feeling disoriented for a time. The momentum that had steadily climbed to that climactic moment, almost tanked. I felt like I had lost something significant in that vacuum of time. The warp speed of the last quarter of the book almost choked the life out of the hard- earned love and fragile emotions the reader had steadily built up to that point. However, the story did rally in a come from behind win, earning some redemption points with a sweet and tender conclusion that left me with all the warm and fuzzy feels. Ultimately, this is an offbeat, feel good story, and heaven knows we could all use more of those!! 3.5 stars rounded up

  3. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'm somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent." —Victor Hugo Music has always been one of my greatest passions, alongside my love of reading. I have the largest iPod Apple ever made, and it doesn't accommodate my entire music collection—how can I get rid of a song? For me, music is such a trigger of emotion, and a specific song can easily transport me to a time, a place, a special memory. So why it took me so long to read Rache I'm somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent." —Victor Hugo Music has always been one of my greatest passions, alongside my love of reading. I have the largest iPod Apple ever made, and it doesn't accommodate my entire music collection—how can I get rid of a song? For me, music is such a trigger of emotion, and a specific song can easily transport me to a time, a place, a special memory. So why it took me so long to read Rachel Joyce's lovely The Music Shop , I'll never know. "Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practical knowledge whatsoever, but when he sat in front of a customer and truly listened, he heard a kind of song. He wasn't talking a full-blown symphony. It would be a few notes; at the most, a strain. And it didn't happen all the time, only when he let go of being Frank and inhabited a space that was more in the middle. It had been this way ever since he could remember." Frank owns a record shop on a rapidly deteriorating, dead-end street in a London suburb. It's the late 1980s, and vinyl is struggling to survive over cassettes and the increasingly popular CD, but Frank is a purist. He'll never sell anything other than records, despite the reps from the different labels trying to convince him that he's making a huge mistake. Vinyl sounds the best, and provides so much more of an experience for the listener. Even though his store, and the other stores that surround it, isn't doing that well financially, the store serves as a gathering place for people in the neighborhood, people who come to Frank in need of help, and he finds them the exact song they need, even when they don't know it. Into this chaos one afternoon comes a beautiful woman, Ilse Brauchmann. Frank feels an instant connection to her, with her regal bearing and her slight German accent. He finds himself thinking of her constantly, yet Ilse talks of a fiancée, and clearly has secrets she doesn't want to divulge. Nearly all his life, Frank has never let anyone get too close to him, for fear of getting hurt as he had in his past. But he has fallen head over heels in love with Ilse, despite the fact that he knows next to nothing about her. When she asks him to give her music lessons, after some initial reluctance, he dives in wholeheartedly, teaching Ilse about all different songs, artists, and genres of music, and sharing the way those songs made him feel. It is the closest he can come to sharing his heart with her. As he tries to come to terms with his feelings, Frank is struggling financially to keep the store afloat, to fight those who refuse to sell him records because he won't buy CDs. He tries to keep his neighbors feeling secure despite the street's falling into greater disrepair, and a development company making everyone offers to buy their property to build something new. When Frank finds out that Ilse isn't quite whom she says she is, it threatens to debilitate Frank for good, as the betrayal opens old wounds and revives old hurts he had never quite gotten past. "Sometimes all that people needed was to know they were not alone. Other times it was more a question of keeping them in touch with their feelings until they wore them out—people clung to what was familiar, even when it was painful." The Music Shop is a book with such heart and charm, such vivid characters, and it was truly such a lovely read. Joyce perfectly captures the mood of London in the late 1980s, as the gulf between the haves and the have-nots grew ever wider. She also captures the passion of a true music lover, the beauty of friendship, and the walls we build around our heart to protect ourselves after we've been hurt too many times. As I learned from one of her earlier books, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (see my review), Joyce is a consummate storyteller who draws you in and makes you care about her characters. One character in particular, Frank's employee Kit, felt strangely underdeveloped, and you never really understood him despite his key role in the plot. I did feel the story took a little too long to truly get going, and then dragged a bit toward its conclusion. But in the end, even if I wasn't surprised by the ending, the book really touched my heart, and the music lover in me savored every note. The Music Shop is one of those books that felt like a warm hug, kind of like Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of AJ Fikry . See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith

    What a delightful and enjoyable read "The Music Shop" by Rachel Joyce is! It doesn't demand constant attention or keep you awake at night, it's just a lovely nostalgic story that makes you feel so happy when reading it, it's almost like you're floating through the pages (though the ending did have me in emotional goosebumps). "The Music Shop" is a very character driven novel. Set in 1988 the story is about Frank who owns a music shop selling only vinyl records - don't mention Cd's!! He knows eve What a delightful and enjoyable read "The Music Shop" by Rachel Joyce is! It doesn't demand constant attention or keep you awake at night, it's just a lovely nostalgic story that makes you feel so happy when reading it, it's almost like you're floating through the pages (though the ending did have me in emotional goosebumps). "The Music Shop" is a very character driven novel. Set in 1988 the story is about Frank who owns a music shop selling only vinyl records - don't mention Cd's!! He knows everything about music and always finds the right album the customers need. One day a mysterious woman walks into his life - German Ilse Brauchmann - and from then on everything in his world changes. There's some really wonderful characters in this fabulous story from the main protagonist Frank (everyone needs a Frank in their life) to Maud a tattooist who says so little but expresses so much. I loved the developing relationship between Frank and Ilse and with Kit the endearing naive shop assistant added into the mix, things don't always go to plan. There's such a lovely community feel to Unity Street where the shop is located, with its multicultural residents and shop keepers living their simple and uncomplicated lives, where every event or change in routine is picked over and analysed in such a humorous and light hearted way. Customers would go into Frank's shop lost and come out found, having discovered the right music for their troubles and feeling healed. I really enjoyed reading this book, there's nothing to not like about it - without a doubt it's made me feel differently about music and I will certainly be listening to it in a completely new way from now on. Rachel Joyce is a very talented and established author and I look forward to reading more books by her. 5 stars!

  5. 4 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4.5★ “‘I don’t care what anyone tells me. The future’s vinyl,’ he said. . . . ‘Life has surface noise! Do you want to listen to furniture polish?’ Frank is a rumpled older fellow with a large, eclectic collection of vinyl records in a rundown shop in a rundown little side-street in a rundown part of London, which developers are eyeing for new housing. Kit is the clumsy kid he’s taken under his wing to help out in the shop (when he isn’t breaking things), and there ae various side characters who also 4.5★ “‘I don’t care what anyone tells me. The future’s vinyl,’ he said. . . . ‘Life has surface noise! Do you want to listen to furniture polish?’ Frank is a rumpled older fellow with a large, eclectic collection of vinyl records in a rundown shop in a rundown little side-street in a rundown part of London, which developers are eyeing for new housing. Kit is the clumsy kid he’s taken under his wing to help out in the shop (when he isn’t breaking things), and there ae various side characters who also do business in the street: undertaker, tattooist, you get the idea. There are some people who have lived there for years, and there are some cheap rooms to let. It's a neighbourhood. Yes, it's run-down. Yes the buildings are crumbling. But yes, these people need each other and their homes. Frank’s shelves are arranged in such a way that only he knows where anything is. He sorts his records by putting like with like. The thing is, only Frank know why one piece of music belongs with another, a symphony with an Aretha Franklin along with Johnny Cash or someone. Frank ‘reads’ people. He doesn’t know how, but he listens, truly listens when they tell him why they’re looking for music – a breakup, a celebration, a moment of reflection. They don’t know what they’re looking for, but Frank does. He might hand them a concerto and a pop song, send them into one of his listening booths (converted wardrobes) and watch their faces light up when they hear their just-right selections. This reminds me of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, with its peculiar collection of books and odd customers, but this is a unique story about some very particular music. We are given snippets of Frank’s growing up with his self-absorbed mother, Peg, a musical genius (in her way). He always call his mother by name. “‘Music comes out of silence and at the end it goes back to it. It’s a journey. You see?’ ‘Yes, Peg,’ Though he didn’t see. Not yet. He was only six.” She loves Beethoven, Handel, Miles Davis. Frank says she crashes through the boundaries like jazz musicians do. She told him “Jazz was about the spaces between notes. It was about what happened when you listened to the thing inside you. The gaps and the cracks. Because that was where life really happened; when you were brave enough to free-fall.” Peg’s musical influence obviously soaked deeply into him, and it’s all very well that Frank loves the shop and people love Frank, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Is he doing all right? “Frank said he wasn’t sure. He wasn’t in the red exactly, but he was probably heading (kind of) in that (sort of) general (pinkish) direction.” When the mysterious, lovely German, Ilse Brauchmann wanders in, everything changes. I think some readers have made lists of all the music mentioned, and I can see why. I didn't, but I will have to go listen to Miles Davis though. Here’s why. “‘This is the record that will change history,’ said Peg. ‘Why?’ She blew a plume of smoke towards a tea-coloured patch on the ceiling. ‘Because it takes music to a whole new place. Miles Davis booked all the best players but they had hardly any idea what they were going to play. He gave them outlines, told them to improvise, and they played as if the music was sitting right with them in the studio. One day everyone will have “KIND OF BLUE”. Even the people who don’t like jazz will have it.’ How could she be certain? ‘Because it’s the dog’s bollocks. That’s why.’” Good enough for me! (And to think I was going to give away all of our old vinyl – yikes!) Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted (so quotes may change).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 4.5 Stars ”There was once a music shop. From the outside it looked like any shop, in any backstreet. It had no name above the door. No record display in the window. There was just a homemade poster stuck to the glass. FOR THE MUSIC YOU NEED!! EVERYONE WELCOME!! WE ONLY SELL VINYL!!” The shop was difficult to navigate with boxes packed in everywhere one looked; every nook and cranny had records, although none were classified. There were two booths for listening with turntables !! NOW AVAILABLE !! 4.5 Stars ”There was once a music shop. From the outside it looked like any shop, in any backstreet. It had no name above the door. No record display in the window. There was just a homemade poster stuck to the glass. FOR THE MUSIC YOU NEED!! EVERYONE WELCOME!! WE ONLY SELL VINYL!!” The shop was difficult to navigate with boxes packed in everywhere one looked; every nook and cranny had records, although none were classified. There were two booths for listening with turntables in between. And Frank, as much of a fixture as the records, felt it was best to keep the shop open late into the evening for those passing by in need of music. You could find what you needed, as long as it was on vinyl. And if you didn’t know what you wanted or needed, Frank could always tell exactly what you did need. Stacks of classical, rock, blues, jazz, punk, heavy metal, he carried it all – as long as it was on vinyl. ”Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practical knowledge whatsoever, but when he sat in front of a customer and truly listened, he heard a kind of song. He wasn’t talking a full-blown symphony. It would be a few notes, at the most, a strain. And it didn’t happen all the time, only when he let go of being Frank and inhabited a space that was more in the middle. It had been this way ever since he could remember. ‘Intuition,’ Father Anthony called it. ‘Weird shit’ that was Maud.” In 1974, the year Frank bought his shop, Britain was beginning a recession that year, but he didn’t want to quibble over the asking price, and so he bought this place, despite the stench, despite the condition it was in, despite the crumbling masonry falling now and then. He began to tackle the things that needed tackling right away. Slowly, he began to make repairs, plastering walls, repairing pipes, fixing the roof, and replacing the windows. People begin to pop into the shop just to see how it’s coming along, and he begins to know his neighbors better. Word spreads about his shop, and slowly, over time, he builds up a somewhat regular clientele. His customers are amazed that he always seems to know just the right music for them. ”Music comes out of silence and at the end it goes back to it. It’s a journey. You see?” His mother had told him when he was six. ”And of course the silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.” Why? He questioned her. ”Because if you listen, the world changes. It’s like falling in love. Only no one gets hurt.” By the time his shop is up and running, music has changed. Moved beyond vinyl to 8-track tapes, then cassette tapes, and then, by 1988, came CDs. Shiny, eye-catching and new. But Frank remains steadfast in his determination to keep in the old and blocking the way for those new, shiny objects. In this neighborhood, it feels as though time has marched on, but time seems to have forgotten this neighborhood, these people. Throughout this story are many quirky and endearing characters, but there is one character that really stands out from the rest: Ilse, a young woman who may wear her heart on her sleeve, but that sleeve is made of amour. He first meets her when she faints just outside the door to the music shop. A new person in this neighborhood is worthy of notice, but there’s something about her that sets her apart from them. It’s not just the clothes or the gloves that she wears, it’s not her green coat, or her German accent that sneaks through when she speaks, and she’s just a bit of an enigma. And that difference is something they all seem to find intriguing. There are a host of other characters, Father Anthony, Maud, and Kit, with the occasional glance back in time to Frank’s memories of his mother, Peg. Each character is uniquely charming, even grumpy Maud. There are also those that wander into the shop as a break in their day of wandering the streets. There is a considerable amount of conversation about music, which should be obvious since it is a book that is based on the comings and goings of people in a music shop, but the range of eras and genres of music is fairly eclectic. I loved this, the discussions which were less about music than about the feelings evoked, what the artist was trying to say, to convey to those listening. The description of this book says that it is “a love story and a journey through music,” however there are many different kinds of love stories, as many as there are different songs, and this story deals with more than one way that love is shared. I would say that this is a love story / song to music, and the ability that both music and words have of breaking, and healing, our hearts. In a very basic sense, there’s an essence to ”The Music Shop” which charmed me as much as her “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,” which I loved. There’s a raw, but not overly sentimental charm to these characters, as well as an emotional journey over time, as well. Like Harold’s followers, you’ll be cheering these characters on in their journeys. Pub Date: 02 Jan 2018 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group / Random House

  7. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    It’s 1988 and Frank sells vinyl records on a small street in a depressed part of town. He refuses to sell CDs even when the distributors all threaten to drop him. He loves music and is able to match a person with the music they need. What he doesn’t think he needs is love. There’s a dry wit to the book. The characters are a group of misfits and oddballs and there’s humor in their dialog and activities. It’s also a well written book. A book that makes you think. When Peg discusses how music is ab It’s 1988 and Frank sells vinyl records on a small street in a depressed part of town. He refuses to sell CDs even when the distributors all threaten to drop him. He loves music and is able to match a person with the music they need. What he doesn’t think he needs is love. There’s a dry wit to the book. The characters are a group of misfits and oddballs and there’s humor in their dialog and activities. It’s also a well written book. A book that makes you think. When Peg discusses how music is about silence, you just get it. “And of course, the silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.” “Why Peg?” “Because if you listen, the world changes. It’s like falling in love. Only no one gets hurt.” Joyce manages to really get the time and place. The atmosphere- the grafffiti, the developers trying to buy up the properties, the falling down condition of the properties, is as much a character as Frank, Ilse or Kit. Unfortunately, the book is not consistently interesting. It goes through numerous dry patches where nothing happens. Just when I would begin to think I should stop reading, it would get better and I would decide to stick with it. The memories of Peg talking about music were my favorites. An interest in music is a must for this book. Not just classical, but all. The ending made the dry patches worth it. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    3.5 Stars* (rounded down). A quirky, sweet, easy read. Frank has always loved music, it was a gift from Peg, his mother. He is a music shop owner who only sells Vinyl records. The year is 1988. Everyone under the sun wants him to start selling CD’s but Frank refuses. For him, Vinyl is where its at. Frank has a gift - he can feel what music a person needs to hear. The person could be a stranger or a friend. They might come in asking for a specific record or just asking for a song or a type of music 3.5 Stars* (rounded down). A quirky, sweet, easy read. Frank has always loved music, it was a gift from Peg, his mother. He is a music shop owner who only sells Vinyl records. The year is 1988. Everyone under the sun wants him to start selling CD’s but Frank refuses. For him, Vinyl is where its at. Frank has a gift - he can feel what music a person needs to hear. The person could be a stranger or a friend. They might come in asking for a specific record or just asking for a song or a type of music. Regardless, Frank will pick out what he knows they need to hear. And he is always right. Music is his life. Always has been. Frank imagines that it always will be, as he is terrified of actually living. One day a woman in a green coat passes by his shop and then she faints. Frank takes care of her, with all of his friends and neighbors looking on. The woman, Ilse, comes to and Frank gives her a record, “The Four Seasons” even though she claims not to like or listen to music of any kind. Thereafter, Ilse asks for music lessons and Frank provides Ilse with a window into his soul. “The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce is both a sweet, endearing novel and a character study about a group of misfits who are quite lovely together. The characters were full of life and quite interesting! In addition, “The Music Shop” was a quick easy read and it made me feel good inside. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group – Random House and Rachel Joyce for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Published on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon on 1.28.18

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Here's the thing: the concept is great. Frank owns a record store in the 1980s, when records are beginning to be replaced by CDs. He holds fast to his beloved records, falls in love, and his favorite music becomes the soundtrack to his pursuit of the forbidden woman, interspersed with the memories of the music from his childhood, with his tempestuous, eccentric mother. I think Rachel Joyce wanted to write the next HIGH FIDELITY, but she does Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Here's the thing: the concept is great. Frank owns a record store in the 1980s, when records are beginning to be replaced by CDs. He holds fast to his beloved records, falls in love, and his favorite music becomes the soundtrack to his pursuit of the forbidden woman, interspersed with the memories of the music from his childhood, with his tempestuous, eccentric mother. I think Rachel Joyce wanted to write the next HIGH FIDELITY, but she doesn't have the charm or the wit of Nick Hornby. Instead, she writes what I call "hand-holding fiction." Maggie Stiefvater does this, too. The prose is lovely but often overly precious, and everything is explained to you in great detail, as if the author doesn't trust the readers enough to let them figure it out for themselves. We must always be told what a character is feeling, and why, instead of being allowed to infer that ourselves. It's. So. Freaking. Annoying. Another thing that really galled me about this book is the manic pixie dreamgirl element. Frank is lost, adrift, and it's the entrance of a tortured, quirkygirl that grounds him and gives him meaning. I hate the manic pixie dreamgirl trope, because in such stories the heroine becomes a means to an end: a reward to the male character for dutifully completing his character arc. As if that weren't enough, they're both pretentious AF. Frank gives her "music lessons" where he mansplains to her for hours about what musicians are good and what the records mean (kindly eff off, Frank), and Ilse is flighty and mysterious and utterly flat, apart from having a fancy accent and fancy clothes. If you ever wondered what the little shits in John Green novels would be like in middle age, pick up this book and satisfy your curiosity, because these characters are totally the little shits in John Green novels all grown up and in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I received an ARC of this book for review. 2 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This is one of those books where I want to use the phrase "I liked it but I didn't love it." In other words it was nice but not as good as I had hoped. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy still remains my favourite book by this author by far. I liked the setting in the run down music shop in an even more run down area of town. I really liked the time period and I enjoyed several of the characters especially Frank himself and the accident prone Kit. It was unfortunate that I also liked the Sing This is one of those books where I want to use the phrase "I liked it but I didn't love it." In other words it was nice but not as good as I had hoped. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy still remains my favourite book by this author by far. I liked the setting in the run down music shop in an even more run down area of town. I really liked the time period and I enjoyed several of the characters especially Frank himself and the accident prone Kit. It was unfortunate that I also liked the Singing Teapot waitress more than I did Ilse who I never actually warmed to. The author gets lots of points for her ability to write quirky characters without slipping into stereotypes. This is not a romance by any stretch of the imagination, but the love story is there and is very poignant. A few tears, or at least wet eyes, at the end. There is lots and lots about music and many references, some to pieces or songs I don't know and others I do. I listened to a few online and did not always understand why Frank found them appropriate but then that was his skill not mine! Overall a nice contemporary novel with a great cast of characters, well written and enjoyable to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

    Rachel Joyce is a master at writing about ordinary people and their often hidden struggles, and celebrating their courage and resilience in the face of those struggles. In “The Music Shop” she once again writes about those “ordinary” people in a clear-eyed, unsentimental, and inspiring manner. The book focuses on a group of seemingly unremarkable people who have businesses on Unity Street. At the center of those shops and of the story itself is Frank and his music shop. Frank has an unusual and Rachel Joyce is a master at writing about ordinary people and their often hidden struggles, and celebrating their courage and resilience in the face of those struggles. In “The Music Shop” she once again writes about those “ordinary” people in a clear-eyed, unsentimental, and inspiring manner. The book focuses on a group of seemingly unremarkable people who have businesses on Unity Street. At the center of those shops and of the story itself is Frank and his music shop. Frank has an unusual and magical gift; he can listen to people’s conversations and suggest specific pieces of music to help with whatever difficulties they may be having. As Frank describes it, “Sometimes all that people needed was to know they were not alone. Other times it was more a question of keeping them in touch with their feelings until they wore them out— people clung to what was familiar, even when it was painful.” Because of this gift Frank has devoted customers, but the music delivery business is changing and Frank is unwilling to accommodate those changes. He knows that the totality of the musical experience provided by vinyl records cannot be matched by cassettes or cd’s. (I heartily agree!) When devastating losses occur in Frank’s life, he finds himself unable to cope. He has always been able to rescue others but doesn’t know how to rescue himself. But rescue does occur, and the manner in which it plays out is joyous and heartwarming. In addition to a great story, Rachel Joyce’s knowledge of all types of music, from classical to punk, adds a wonderful sonic dimension to the book. I frequently found myself interrupting my reading so I could find and listen to specific pieces she refers to. (That search would have been much easier if I had known that at the end of the book there is a Spotify link for all the music!) Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather 'Bookables'

    4 stars Overall a very heartwarming, beautiful story about friendship, love & a neighborhood full of amazing shop owners. If your a big music fan, this book is for you. The whole book centers around a vinyl record store and the owner loves music and often reflects on some of his favorite bands and memories associated with music.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    The Music Shop is not just about a music shop - it’s a love story unlike any other. I was undecided whether to give this book 4 stars or 5 stars but when I got tears in my eyes at the end, that decided for me! A FABULOUS book!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    DNF at 50% I won this novel courtesy of a Goodreads Giveaway and although my regular reading material is crime fiction, I am not averse to some of these whimsical novels with quirky characters and a sense of optimism that often make for a genuinely feel-good read. I loved both The Rosie Project and Effect, for example, but have never found myself drawn to the work of Rachel Joyce despite the many rave reviews I have read. Sadly, I found The Music Shop to be so interminably slow that at 50% I had t DNF at 50% I won this novel courtesy of a Goodreads Giveaway and although my regular reading material is crime fiction, I am not averse to some of these whimsical novels with quirky characters and a sense of optimism that often make for a genuinely feel-good read. I loved both The Rosie Project and Effect, for example, but have never found myself drawn to the work of Rachel Joyce despite the many rave reviews I have read. Sadly, I found The Music Shop to be so interminably slow that at 50% I had to put this novel down. Maybe as I reader of largely crime fiction and thrillers, I demand more action and momentum in a plot, but this was not so much as a meander as like wading through treacle. I won’t describe the plot as other readers, who I suspect will have enjoyed this more, will do so, but so very little happens and Rachel Joyce manages to drag it out to a soul destroying length. An entire one-hundred-pages is devoted to pondering on a woman with an accent and a green coat who faints outside of Frank’s music shop. Joyce begins her novel in 1988 and lonely Frank with his awkward and unusual upbringing is devoted to serving his customers and giving them the music they need in order to solve their many dilemmas in life. Frank learnt all of his music knowledge through his non-conventional mother, Peg, and there is a huge amount of repetition in this novel as first Joyce shows Frank learning from Peg, before Frank then goes on to deliver the same lesson to a customer. I think the most irritating aspect of Joyce’s writing is that she is so acutely aware that she has captured the niche end of charming contemporary fiction that she deliberately serves up awkward characters with common problems with the intention that there will be something within the pages that strikes a chord with every reader. The problem with doing this, however, is that it entails contrived characterisations and necessitates an overload of saccharine sweet schmaltz to complete the setup. The literary equivalent of pulling teeth. I shall not be reading anymore of Rachel Joyce’s work although I have no quibbles about her writing, just the genre. On a positive note (!), I did learn some very interesting facts about classical music and I suspect if I had continued to the end, I would have learnt about the more modern classics too. Clearly the background of this novel has been well-researched.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Frank was wandering with no particular purpose in mind when he saw the abandoned old shop with the for sale sign in front. He knew without a shadow of doubt that this was what he wanted – a quiet street, other small shops around – the shop was a mess, and Frank wasn’t that handy. But it wasn’t long before Frank’s music shop was filled with records; vinyl only – no tapes or CDs (trashy stuff!) – his records had customers coming to his door. Frank found them the music they needed, much to their as Frank was wandering with no particular purpose in mind when he saw the abandoned old shop with the for sale sign in front. He knew without a shadow of doubt that this was what he wanted – a quiet street, other small shops around – the shop was a mess, and Frank wasn’t that handy. But it wasn’t long before Frank’s music shop was filled with records; vinyl only – no tapes or CDs (trashy stuff!) – his records had customers coming to his door. Frank found them the music they needed, much to their astonishment. When Ilse Brauchmann arrived at the front of his shop one day, Frank was struck by her. For some reason, one he couldn’t fathom, he was drawn to Ilse, and she seemed to be to him. But mystery surrounded her – when she wanted Frank to teach her music he knew in his heart that he should say no. Was Ilse who she seemed? Frank certainly didn’t understand her… The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is filled with quirky characters; some I loved, some not so much. The bumbling Kit was a charmer, Frank himself and of course the Father who was an ex-priest (and an ex-alcoholic) – but Ilse was enigmatic and didn’t tug at the heartstrings like the others. All in all, an enjoyable read by the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I loved. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital copy to read and review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Ever since Harold Fry went on a walk across the UK in Rachel Joyce's 2012 debut novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I like many readers the world over have been enthralled by the author's ability to represent ordinary people with grace and dignity. This is something that continues in what is Rachel's fourth novel. Set in the late 80's in recession hit England, Frank runs a record store. Not only does he have a love for vinyl and will staunchly resist pressure from record companies that w Ever since Harold Fry went on a walk across the UK in Rachel Joyce's 2012 debut novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I like many readers the world over have been enthralled by the author's ability to represent ordinary people with grace and dignity. This is something that continues in what is Rachel's fourth novel. Set in the late 80's in recession hit England, Frank runs a record store. Not only does he have a love for vinyl and will staunchly resist pressure from record companies that want him to stock the new in thing "CD's", but he also has the uncanny ability to find a customer exactly the tunes they need to cure their blues. Frank also fits in perfectly with the shop owners of Unity Street, who are a motley bunch of disenfranchised souls. There is the Tattooist Maud, Religious paraphernalia seller Father Anthony, Baker Mr Novak, funeral parlour owners the Williams brothers and Frank's hapless assistant Kit. Together they are a family that although have all faced adversity, thanks to Frank are happy. Time though, they are a changing with Unity Street under threat. A local development company has their eyes on the land and wants to demolish all the shops and homes and put up new housing. The shop owners themselves face a battle to maintain customers and are starting to look favorably at the incentives the developer is offering them. Amongst all this chaos along will come into Frank and the rest of the Unity Street communities lives a mysterious German woman in a green coat, who faints outside Frank’s shop. Ilse will slowly make her mark on the residents and Frank in particular as her presence will force him to embrace his past, even if it is to his detriment. At the heart of this beautiful novel is the themes of people, community, and music. With musical stories that range from Vivaldi to Aretha Franklin and the Sex Pistols, it is not hard to be swept up in the exquisitiveness of a story that at its purest is a love story that celebrates the silence between words.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    I am a sucker for books about music. And music as therapy: even more so. (Did you know you can obtain a college degree in music therapy? Well, you can). So… about The Music Shop There is a music store on a dead end street in England somewhere owned by Frank. “Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practical knowledge whatsoever, but when he sat in front of a customer and truly listened, he heard a kind of song. And that’s how he helped people.” Frank not only helps strang I am a sucker for books about music. And music as therapy: even more so. (Did you know you can obtain a college degree in music therapy? Well, you can). So… about The Music Shop There is a music store on a dead end street in England somewhere owned by Frank. “Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practical knowledge whatsoever, but when he sat in front of a customer and truly listened, he heard a kind of song. And that’s how he helped people.” Frank not only helps strangers who walk in the door but the other shop owners on Unity Street. Maud – a tattoo artist. He introduces her to Adagio for Strings by Barber. It moves her. She loves Frank. Frank does not love her back. That’s just the kind of guy Frank is (or isn’t). Father Anthony – an ex-priest who runs a religious articles shop – Frank introduces him to jazz. But most importantly – Ilse Brachmann – a beautiful German woman to whom Frank eventually gives music lessons and who is not as she seems. This is a lovely book that teaches lessons on difference (the characters in this book really are DIFFERENT) and new beginnings. It was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it. BTW, I have reached my goal for 2017 – read 200 books. Yes, this Is the 200th. The way I feel about this book, its inclusion as Number 200 is very fitting. Playlist for the 24 songs mentioned in The Music Shop can be found on bit.ly/TheMusicShopPlaylist

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Blankfein

    Follow Book Nation by Jen https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com For all my reviews and recommendations. I picked up The Music Shop at the perfect time! So enjoyable, I laughed - I cried- it touched me.... review to come!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I highly recommend this quirky and charming book, especially for music lovers. Within the bigger picture is a love letter to music masters that will touch your heart. It is 1988 and Frank’s world is changing. He is the owner of a dying vinyl record store located on a run-down street soon to be demolished in the name of ‘progress’. The music world is also changing but Frank is digging in his heals, refusing to move on to the new craze of cds and cassette tapes. I loved Frank’s steadfast dedication I highly recommend this quirky and charming book, especially for music lovers. Within the bigger picture is a love letter to music masters that will touch your heart. It is 1988 and Frank’s world is changing. He is the owner of a dying vinyl record store located on a run-down street soon to be demolished in the name of ‘progress’. The music world is also changing but Frank is digging in his heals, refusing to move on to the new craze of cds and cassette tapes. I loved Frank’s steadfast dedication to vinyl even as his suppliers and customers dwindle. Ilse Brachman enters Frank’s life after she faints outside of his shop. Ilse is a mystery, a newcomer to town with an air of sadness. I appreciated how the author kept me hanging with elusive details of Ilse’s situation and I resisted the temptation to read ahead. When Frank first sets eyes on Ilse, it appears to be one-sided love at first sight though he can’t admit it and is awkward beyond belief. As time goes by, the dynamics change, the ebb and flow of the relationship tease and the touches of humor with tinges of sadness are well written and feel genuine. The story methodically moves between present and past when Frank is raised by his single mother Peg, a free spirit who passed on to Frank her intense passion for music. Frank’s reflections on this past make for some emotional moments. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    Rachel Joyce's books are so well written for "modern novels". I enjoyed this slow romance between Frank and Ilse and music of all genres. There is even a playlist on Spotify to accompany the story's musical threads!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    “He played the whole record, side one and then side two. As he listened, Frank smoked and danced in the cramped space behind his turntable, rolling his shoulders and swinging his hips – watching him, even Maud began to sway – while Kit did something that was possibly the funky chicken, but could equally be to do with his new shoes hurting his feet” The Music Shop is the fourth full-length novel by best-selling British author, Rachel Joyce. Frank would only sell vinyl. It didn’t matter that this w “He played the whole record, side one and then side two. As he listened, Frank smoked and danced in the cramped space behind his turntable, rolling his shoulders and swinging his hips – watching him, even Maud began to sway – while Kit did something that was possibly the funky chicken, but could equally be to do with his new shoes hurting his feet” The Music Shop is the fourth full-length novel by best-selling British author, Rachel Joyce. Frank would only sell vinyl. It didn’t matter that this was 1988, cassettes were still popular, CDs were the in thing; vinyl was what Frank knew and loved. The shop was in Unity Street, a dead-end street with a parade of run-down shops, a pub and houses opposite. “Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practical knowledge whatsoever, but when he sat in front of a customer and truly listened, he heard a kind of song. He wasn’t talking a full-blown symphony. It would be a few notes; at most, a strain. And it didn’t happen all the time, only when he let go of being Frank and inhabited a space that was more in the middle. It had been this way ever since he could remember.” Frank had a talent for knowing what his customers needed. Frank’s equilibrium (and that of his friends, the neighbouring shopkeepers, customers and residents) is upset when Ilse Brauchmann, newly arrived in the country, peers into his shop window. A developer seems intent on destroying this little corner of England and Frank galvanises the street into resisting, but is distracted from his campaign by the music lessons he has promised to give this strange but charismatic lady. Joyce gives the reader a cast of quirky characters, some of whom definitely qualify as eccentric: the alcoholic (but dry) ex-priest who runs the religious gift shop; the teenaged assistant who bubbles with enthusiasm over every project; the bad-tempered tattooist; the hand-holding twin brothers running the funeral parlour; the grumpy waitress in the tea shop; and, of course, Frank, forty, single and living above his music shop, whose very unconventional mother had taught him about music: “…if you listen, the world changes. It’s like falling in love. Only no one gets hurt” Joyce is wonderfully skilled at characters and their interactions, using vignettes to give their backgrounds and anecdotes to illustrate their social ineptitude, their awkward courtship, their miscommunications. There are plenty of wise words: “There is no guarantee that just because you are ready to go back and claim something, it will be there”, and there is, obviously, a lot of music, music of all genres, some of which is bound to arouse nostalgia. For readers of a certain vintage, all sorts of memories will be invoked by this: “You ease the record from its cover. It’s years since you’ve held one but you do it without thinking. Slide your fingers inside the sleeve, careful not to touch the vinyl. Draw it out. Hear the rustle of paper. Balance it in the span of your palm, the outer rim on your thumb, the label on the tip of your middle finger. As it brushes your wrist, feel the soft static kiss of it. Smooth as liquorice and twice as shiny. Light spills over it like water. Breathe in the new smell.” Sweet and funny and moving.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Malina Skrobosinski

    "Bon appetit" I devoured this enchanting tale created by Rachel Joyce. It was captivating, enlightening, moving, and even exasperating at times. It's not the kind of novel that is overly gratifying... at least not at first... that's where the exasperation comes in, but in the end, I found it to be very rewarding. Meet Frank... Frank is a 40 year old single man that owns a music shop. "I'm going to help people find music." Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practica "Bon appetit" I devoured this enchanting tale created by Rachel Joyce. It was captivating, enlightening, moving, and even exasperating at times. It's not the kind of novel that is overly gratifying... at least not at first... that's where the exasperation comes in, but in the end, I found it to be very rewarding. Meet Frank... Frank is a 40 year old single man that owns a music shop. "I'm going to help people find music." Frank could not play music, he could not read a score, he had no practical knowledge whatsoever, but when he sat in front of a customer and truly listened, he heard a kind of song. Frank was committed to music, but love... that was something he was never going to consider again. "I'm done with all that. My shop is all I need." Yes, Frank was content with spending the rest of his days in his music shop selling vinyl records and helping people find music. Only fate had other things in store for him... times were changing. Vinyl was no longer being sought after, CD's have become the new way to listen to music. Music reps are encouraging Frank that if he wants to make it in the business, he's got to sell CD's, but Frank's not budging. As if this wasn't enough frustration for Frank, a mysterious German woman faints in front of his shop, leaving him and everyone in the community stunned. She returns later to thank Frank for helping her, and it's then that Frank realizes that he can't "hear" this woman... she has no song, she's completely silent to him. Silence was where the magic happened. The story between Frank and Ilse Brauchmann is so unconventional... it's really like nothing else. It's not a classic love tale that you would hope for. It's complicated... but isn't all love? What's so great about this story is that they come together through a love of music. Only they're both broken and with each others help, they find a way through. The cure is in the disease. I really enjoyed the character development in this novel despite the fact that many of the characters were not given very robust roles or titles in the novel. The overall sense of the community on Unity Street really makes the novel come alive with warmth and... well... unity. There was something unique about each character, I enjoyed Maud's feisty and snappy dialogue. Kit, and his clumsy, can't do anything right, but always wanting to get it right attitude. The waitress... such a simple character in the novel, but yet she added so much in those chapters I felt. Those are just to name a few, but the community really does come alive. I'm going to have to check out some of Rachel Joyce's other work. This was such a fun and quick read. I realize it probably won't be for everyone, but if you love music and enjoy a simple (okay, maybe not so simple) love story, then I say give it a chance. I'd like to thank NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, and Rachel Joyce for allowing me the chance to read this novel in exchange for my review. I really, really enjoyed it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fictionophile

    A heartwarming novel that makes you smile while reading it. "He was perfectly fine with emotions, so long as they belonged to other people." We meet Frank, a gentle bear of a man. Forty and single, his unorthodox upbringing has made him LOVE music, fear intimacy, and know how to listen. He is very patient, and he has boundless empathy. His late mother, Peg, left her house and all her estate to strangers. To Frank, she bequeathed her extensive record collection and her Dansette Major record player. " A heartwarming novel that makes you smile while reading it. "He was perfectly fine with emotions, so long as they belonged to other people." We meet Frank, a gentle bear of a man. Forty and single, his unorthodox upbringing has made him LOVE music, fear intimacy, and know how to listen. He is very patient, and he has boundless empathy. His late mother, Peg, left her house and all her estate to strangers. To Frank, she bequeathed her extensive record collection and her Dansette Major record player. "Frank knew what people needed even when they didn't know it themselves" Frank has the uncanny ability to just know what you need to hear. He diagnoses emotions and finds the perfect music just for you. Always on vinyl - Frank doesn't believe in CDs. He employs a clumsy yet endearing young assistant named Kit. "Frank found that if you treated him like a young terrier, sending him out for regular walks and occupying him with easy tasks, he was less liable to cause serious damage". The story is set in the late 1980s and is located in a decaying side street populated by eccentrics and loners. There is Father Anthony, an ex-priest who sells religious trinkets, Maud, a female tattoo artist (who has Frank's name tattooed underneath her bra strap), a Polish baker, two brothers who run a funeral parlour, an elderly lady and her dog, and a pub called "England's Glory". "He couldn't put away the loneliness that swallowed him." One ordinary day turned extraordinary when a young woman in a green coat faints outside Frank's music shop. "There was something about her that was both fragile and incredibly strong".  The day that Ilse Brauchmann came to Unity Street, the dynamic of the street was forever changed. Ilse is thirty. She wears a pea-green coat, she has a delightful German accent, vast dark eyes, and 'always' wears gloves. Unity Street is being targeted by property developers. The misfits who live there maintain that if they rally together they can be strong enough to see the street through this time of adversity. I'm not going to tell you any more about the story. Suffice it to say that decrepit as it was, the author made Unity Street a place where you want to live - if only to get to know the wonderful assortment of people who inhabit it. It is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. It is a book that makes you laugh and then, minutes later, weep. Events near the end of the book will make you verklempt. I loved this book and anticipate recommending it to everyone I know.   The message, or moral, to this story was summed up nicely in this sentence "The human adventure is worth it, after all." Rachel Joyce has never failed me yet.  I received a digital copy of this novel from Random House via NetGalley in expectation of my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    Cue up Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” because Rachel Joyce has written a new novel, which means there’s a party goin’ on right here. “The Music Shop” is an unabashedly sentimental tribute to the healing power of great songs, and Joyce is hip to greatness in any key. Her novel’s catalogue stretches from Bach to the Beach Boys, from Vivaldi to the Sex Pistols. Crank up the turntable and let these pages sing. The story’s hero is “a gentle bear of a man” named Frank who owns a run-down music shop Cue up Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” because Rachel Joyce has written a new novel, which means there’s a party goin’ on right here. “The Music Shop” is an unabashedly sentimental tribute to the healing power of great songs, and Joyce is hip to greatness in any key. Her novel’s catalogue stretches from Bach to the Beach Boys, from Vivaldi to the Sex Pistols. Crank up the turntable and let these pages sing. The story’s hero is “a gentle bear of a man” named Frank who owns a run-down music shop on a back street in England. His establishment is something between an old-fashioned record store and a walk-in therapy clinic. “For the Music You Need!!!” blares a handwritten poster in the window. “Everyone Welcome!!” Inside are two listening booths made from Victorian wardrobes. Thousands of albums are arranged according to. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I am a big fan of Rachel Joyce's novels The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Both books showed the depth of human love and connection in ordinary people. I was hoping for more of the same in this book, but it didn't quite deliver. In attempting to create quirky characters and a throw-back plot (the premise of the book includes an introverted record store owner standing strong against the push of modernity) the book just seemed like it was trying too ha I am a big fan of Rachel Joyce's novels The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Both books showed the depth of human love and connection in ordinary people. I was hoping for more of the same in this book, but it didn't quite deliver. In attempting to create quirky characters and a throw-back plot (the premise of the book includes an introverted record store owner standing strong against the push of modernity) the book just seemed like it was trying too hard. As a result the characters were inauthentic and the plot was a bit of a snoozer. A two-star rating seems harsh, but three stars is a stretch, so I'll settle on 2.5 Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    joyce doesn't disappoint with her latest book with a music shop as the background selling vinyl and its joyce's recurring theme of lost and finding within relationships.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Megan C.

    I finished this book over the weekend and it gets ALL the stars from me. One of my favorite reads of 2018 so far! This is a book about loyalty, love, friendship, and most of all, music. Each chapter is named for a piece of music and I loved listening to the pieces as I read. (There’s even a Spotify playlist!) "Music, Frank explained, said things that words couldn’t.” The bulk of the action takes place around the aptly named Unity Street, a falling-down, dead end road boasting a hodge-podge of str I finished this book over the weekend and it gets ALL the stars from me. One of my favorite reads of 2018 so far! This is a book about loyalty, love, friendship, and most of all, music. Each chapter is named for a piece of music and I loved listening to the pieces as I read. (There’s even a Spotify playlist!) "Music, Frank explained, said things that words couldn’t.” The bulk of the action takes place around the aptly named Unity Street, a falling-down, dead end road boasting a hodge-podge of struggling businesses (among them the undertakers - two elderly bachelor twin brothers, a tattoo salon run by the gruff and mohawked Maud, and a religious gift shop overseen by a fallen priest). The residents and shop owners of Unity Street aren’t just neighbors, however. They are a family in every sense of the word--they watch out for each other, complain about (and to) each other, and support each other. I loved being a part of their interactions. “Like music, said Peg. Even when it was over, it kept living inside you.” The incredible cast of characters became so real for me – they were superbly written. (They reminded me a bit of the peculiar and eccentric group from Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, one of my all-time favorite books!) I loved them all, but my favorites were Kit - bumbling shop assistant, excited foot tapper, and eager neighborhood poster artist, Ilse – enigmatic and skittish but so loyal and kind, and of course, Frank. Frank was EVERYTHING. Believer in dreams, people, and the power of music, Frank is cemented as one of my most favorite fictional men – right up there next to Ove. “As she left that booth, the music was in her heart. The shop was just the same, the past was just the same, but now there was also this. This whatever it was. This truth. It was no less than a small miracle. And Frank had given her that.” The last 20 pages found me with chills running up my arms and tears running down my cheeks. I will never hear Handel’s Messiah the same way again. A must for fans of music, quirky characters, self-made families, and stories that make you feel ALL THE THINGS. “That was why Peg loved the Messiah best of all. Because it showed people they were not alone. No matter about their differences, the music lifted them up and lowered them down, only to raise them even higher. It worked like a spell….HAL-LE-LU-JAH!”

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul Secor

    I used to love going to record stores. Looking through the racks, coming across something that I'd been looking for; finding a record that I never knew existed, and now had to have; hanging out with friends and talking about music while we searched for the next find - all of that is gone now and I miss it. So it was no surprise that when my wife brought home The Music Shop from the library, I ended up reading it before she did. Frank is the owner of a small vinyl only (the book is begins in 1988, I used to love going to record stores. Looking through the racks, coming across something that I'd been looking for; finding a record that I never knew existed, and now had to have; hanging out with friends and talking about music while we searched for the next find - all of that is gone now and I miss it. So it was no surprise that when my wife brought home The Music Shop from the library, I ended up reading it before she did. Frank is the owner of a small vinyl only (the book is begins in 1988, so he was - unfortunately for him - too far ahead of the times) record shop. He has the gift of being able to listen to customers and pick out music that they "need" to change their lives. That seemed like an interesting conceit, but I didn't find it very believable that someone who supposedly loved music as much as he is supposed to would make such obvious recommendations. Kind of Blue. The Four Seasons (Vivaldi's composition, not the group), Aretha Franklin, Moonlight Sonata, Van Morrison - it's almost as if the author picked up a book of the 20 or 30 most popular artists/recordings/compositions in different genres and placed some of them in this novel. Not that much of the music in the book is bad music. It's just that it seems to me that people are too varied and complex for commonplace music to work magic on most of them. There's another side to The Music Shop. It's also a love story, and a pretty good one - not great, but pretty good. In the end, it's a "nice" book, with all of the positives and negatives that come with that adjective. There was a positive for me. When I read a book about music, I end up listening to a lot of music. In this case, I listened to a lot of good (at least in my opinion) music - probably because I was nostalgic, thinking about my lost record store days. I don't mean for any of the music listed below to be what anyone else might "need" to listen to. Most of the time I don't even know what I need to listen to. My soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrE7N... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qo2u... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdBxc... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVUBS... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeoZE... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDx02... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2gyz... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IKRo... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9ZWK... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIZy2... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxrR7... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TzhO... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSYgW... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnAV1... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCK6F... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJYVm...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    A Love Story that Sings By Judge Kim Hubbard What is it about music—whether it’s the soaring majesty of a Beethoven symphony or James Brown’s just-gotta-dance funk—that touches the human heart so deeply? How can artfully-arranged notes cheer you up when you’re down, remind you we’re all connected, or break your heart? (And why, since there aren’t that many notes to choose from, hasn’t every possible song already been written? I’ve always wondered … but I digress.) This charmer of a novel doesn’t ex A Love Story that Sings By Judge Kim Hubbard What is it about music—whether it’s the soaring majesty of a Beethoven symphony or James Brown’s just-gotta-dance funk—that touches the human heart so deeply? How can artfully-arranged notes cheer you up when you’re down, remind you we’re all connected, or break your heart? (And why, since there aren’t that many notes to choose from, hasn’t every possible song already been written? I’ve always wondered … but I digress.) This charmer of a novel doesn’t exactly answer those questions, but if pondering them interests you, you’re going to love it. It’s the late 1980s, and Frank Adair, a youngish man who’s been damaged in ways that aren’t immediately made clear, owns a record shop on a rundown street in a British suburb. CDs are threatening to make vinyl obsolete, yet Frank refuses to sell anything but the latter. It would be a disastrous business plan if he didn’t have a singular talent: Whenever a customer walks in, Frank can “hear” exactly what music that person needs. A sad sack demanding only Chopin? Frank says he’ll groove to Aretha. (“Who?” asks the sad sack. But as it turns out, Frank’s right.) But when a lovely woman named Ilse Brauchmann appears in the shop one day and promptly faints, Frank learns the limits of his gift—he “hears” nothing from Ilse at all. What follows is a love story wrapped in a mystery, in a rapidly changing neighborhood. Why is Ilse, who signs up for regular music lessons with Frank, so evasive about her past, and about the fiancé who’s never in evidence? Will Frank lose her along with his shop, which, like the small businesses run by his quirky friends, is ever more threatened by gentrification? As the story moves forward, flashbacks illuminate both Frank’s genius and the reason for his sorrows, and Ilse’s secrets are slowly revealed. You’ll root for these two wounded, wary souls and for music’s potential to heal them, and finish the book humming everything from Handel’s Hallelujah chorus to Nick Drake. Read more at https://www.bookofthemonth.com/the-mu...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie

    The street where Frank Adair’s music shop is located has seen better days. The mortar is falling off the buildings and teens are decorating its stores with graffiti. But some of these shops have been here for many years, including Frank’s music shop, which only deals in vinyl records. He refuses to carry CDs, which makes him quite unpopular with the record suppliers. But Frank’s shop is special. He has a knack for finding just the right song his customers need. He manages to heal broken hearts a The street where Frank Adair’s music shop is located has seen better days. The mortar is falling off the buildings and teens are decorating its stores with graffiti. But some of these shops have been here for many years, including Frank’s music shop, which only deals in vinyl records. He refuses to carry CDs, which makes him quite unpopular with the record suppliers. But Frank’s shop is special. He has a knack for finding just the right song his customers need. He manages to heal broken hearts and marriages and his store is a popular one with the community. Frank has made a nice life for himself until one day a woman faints outside of his shop and sets his world on end. This book is peopled with such unique, quirky characters – Frank’s assistant, Kit, who struggles to control his exuberance; Maud, the tattoo artist, Father Anthony who now runs a religious shop, the Williams Brothers, the funeral directors; and the baker, Mr. Novak. And then there’s Ilse Brauchmann, who is such a mystery, with her gloved hands and her utter lack of knowledge about music. My favorite part of the book was when the author takes a look back at the lessons Frank’s mother gave him about music and the music lessons he in turn gives to Ilse. Frank’s mother taught him to hear the silence between the music notes and to look beyond the music to hear the composer’s heart and soul. Ms. Joyce obviously has a great passion for music and how music can impact a person’s life is the thrust of her newest novel. I do wish the author had wrapped up the story a bit earlier than she did. I felt the book dragged for a while at the end. But all in all, it was a very enjoyable book and brought a lot of smiles to my heart. Recommended. This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  31. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    The Music Shop is one of those books that you read with a smile. And a tear. With all the bombast in the world today, this return to 1988, at a time when the world of music was going through yet another of its ongoing changes. Frank, who has severe commitment issues, is determined that he will never sell cds in his tiny shop in a failing part of town, even if it means he may not survive economically. You can't help but admire his love of vinyl ("Vinyl had a life of its own. All you could do was The Music Shop is one of those books that you read with a smile. And a tear. With all the bombast in the world today, this return to 1988, at a time when the world of music was going through yet another of its ongoing changes. Frank, who has severe commitment issues, is determined that he will never sell cds in his tiny shop in a failing part of town, even if it means he may not survive economically. You can't help but admire his love of vinyl ("Vinyl had a life of its own. All you could do was wait.) So much beautiful and hilarious writing here, it's hard not to lift a quote from every page ("The silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.") Additionally, there is not one cliche in her approach to character development, a true original. These are memorable people, people you care about. And the story spools out gently, with many uses of words such as "tender," "kind," "thoughtful." As in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce provides unexpected connections between people, surprises a reader doesn’t expect. Her story is her own creation. Highly recommended. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7J...

  32. 5 out of 5

    MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    Set in London in the 1980's, Frank owns a music shop that is a home and place of refuge for the community. Frank, the woner, has a knacl for choosing music that a person needs right at the precise moment. When a strange woman suddlenly "drops in" to the music shop, she turns Frank's and the members of that community'swrold upside down. I absolutely loved this book and its quirky cast of characters. I found the writing and characters endearing and I loved all the ,usic refernces. Great book for an Set in London in the 1980's, Frank owns a music shop that is a home and place of refuge for the community. Frank, the woner, has a knacl for choosing music that a person needs right at the precise moment. When a strange woman suddlenly "drops in" to the music shop, she turns Frank's and the members of that community'swrold upside down. I absolutely loved this book and its quirky cast of characters. I found the writing and characters endearing and I loved all the ,usic refernces. Great book for anyone who believes in love and the power of music to unite us all!

  33. 4 out of 5

    Suad Shamma

    I'm really disappointed with this one. It had such great potential, and it started off really well too, but as the story went on...it seemed like it was going nowhere. The twists and turns were not exciting. The characters never developed past your first impression. There was no depth, no great reveal, no climax. I wanted to love it so much, but I just couldn't. I wanted it to play out like one of those amazing musical pieces that Frank would sit and describe to Ilse Brauchmann, starting out qui I'm really disappointed with this one. It had such great potential, and it started off really well too, but as the story went on...it seemed like it was going nowhere. The twists and turns were not exciting. The characters never developed past your first impression. There was no depth, no great reveal, no climax. I wanted to love it so much, but I just couldn't. I wanted it to play out like one of those amazing musical pieces that Frank would sit and describe to Ilse Brauchmann, starting out quiet and slow, then picking up the pace, then reaching that shattering crescendo until we're back to a peaceful lull trailing off into the distance. There was none of that. Frank, a music shop owner, who only sells vinyl and nothing else, has a gift. He can heal people with music. How? We never find out, and perhaps we don't need to find out. It's just one of those things. He can 'listen' to people and know exactly what piece of music they need to listen to in order to heal them. Something like that. The story keeps going back and forth between present time and the past in which we meet Frank's mom, Peg, who insists he call her by her first name and has zero maternal instincts. She teaches him everything there is to know about music, and nurtures his love for vinyls. Now, we come to understand that something terrible happened to Frank and he's decided to never love again because of it. We never seem to understand what that thing was? His mom is a constant topic that crops up, making me assume that perhaps his mom's passing is what broke him? That makes no sense to me though, because all he's ever wanted was to be separated from his mom in order to have a "normal" life. Yes, they were close. But so close that he was never able to love anyone else ever again? I never got that sense from the story. We never understand when this "gift" of his started though. When did he find out that he had this special skill of listening to people and hearing their pain and struggles? Who was the first person he experienced it with? So many gaps, so many loopholes. So he meets Ilse Brauchmann who passes out in front of his store, and then runs away. She keeps coming back though. He keeps warding her off, knowing she's going to be trouble for him. They can't seem to stay apart though, and when she asks him for music lessons, he agrees. So their music sessions begin in which he teaches her everything he knows about different types of music. Those parts of the story were interesting. As a backdrop to this story, is the story of all the other business owners on the street, who are being pushed out of their homes for a new development to take their place. Frank, who is basically going bankrupt, is fighting for them to remain where they are. One night though, everything that means anything to him comes crashing down. And then we skip 20 years into the future. What? That's when things REALLY started getting silly for me. I almost wanted to stop reading at that point, but I made myself go on, and I wish I hadn't. Very cheesy and silly ending to an already disappointing story. It is nothing like her previous books. Books that really delve into the characters' lives, develop them and create profound connections, with insane twists and turns, and make us root for them and care for them and really take us out of our comfort zones. Nope. Nothing like that.

  34. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    The Music Shop is a love letter to music, music shops and especially to vinyl records. I’m old enough that the first records I bought were vinyl and I understand the love for this medium. It’s like telling a book lover that e-books are as good as physical books (they are not!) I read this book in 2 days because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Frank and his rundown music shop. I had to find out if Frank and Ilse would ever realize they were meant for each other. Would the f The Music Shop is a love letter to music, music shops and especially to vinyl records. I’m old enough that the first records I bought were vinyl and I understand the love for this medium. It’s like telling a book lover that e-books are as good as physical books (they are not!) I read this book in 2 days because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to Frank and his rundown music shop. I had to find out if Frank and Ilse would ever realize they were meant for each other. Would the few shops left on Unity Street be able to stay in business or would they sell out to the new property development company? Would Frank cave to pressure to carry the new CD’s? (Most of the book takes place in 1988) The book is filled with characters you quickly care about – Maud the tattoo artist, secretly in love with Frank; Father Anthony with his religious artifacts shop; Kit, Frank’s clumsy, not-too-bright assistant. Frank’s descriptions of music – how it makes you feel, what you hear when you really listen, little-known facts about the musicians and why they wrote the music – are some of the best portions of the book. I feel like I’ve completed a Music Appreciation class. The Music Shop might not be quite as good as The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but it is still very, very good. I get tears in my eyes when I think about the end of this book. It is a perfect It’s-a-Wonderful-Life kind of a moment when all of Frank’s friends gather around him.

  35. 4 out of 5

    Bill Lynas

    There may be a little bit of cheating here as I didn't actually read this book, but I did listen to the author reading it on the BBC Radio 4 series A Book At Bedtime. Having worked in a record shop (that dates me!) for six years & then a further six years in a CD/DVD shop I was easily drawn to this story. It is a gentle tale of love & music & is populated with interesting people. I especially liked the minor character of the waitress at the Singing Teapot cafe. This radio version had There may be a little bit of cheating here as I didn't actually read this book, but I did listen to the author reading it on the BBC Radio 4 series A Book At Bedtime. Having worked in a record shop (that dates me!) for six years & then a further six years in a CD/DVD shop I was easily drawn to this story. It is a gentle tale of love & music & is populated with interesting people. I especially liked the minor character of the waitress at the Singing Teapot cafe. This radio version had the added bonus of enabling you to hear the music as the characters do, which gave it a pleasant added dimension.

  36. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    This novel is not like music; this novel is music. It begins with an adagio. It’s gentle and calm, soft and sweet. Frank knows what his customers need, not what they want, and he steers them in the right direction, with a trust-me attitude, never over-bearing. But then, the exposition occurs. We’re exposed to scenes from Frank’s childhood, and little by little we discover who Peg was, and what she gave to Frank, and what she did not. Then, just when things seem peaceful, a new motif is introduce This novel is not like music; this novel is music. It begins with an adagio. It’s gentle and calm, soft and sweet. Frank knows what his customers need, not what they want, and he steers them in the right direction, with a trust-me attitude, never over-bearing. But then, the exposition occurs. We’re exposed to scenes from Frank’s childhood, and little by little we discover who Peg was, and what she gave to Frank, and what she did not. Then, just when things seem peaceful, a new motif is introduced, one by the name of Ilse. We don’t know what to make this new theme. Like a two-part invention, we hear a phrase from Frank. It is reiterated by Ilse, but changed slightly. This back and forth dance goes on for a while. The Ilse theme is here, then gone. But the recapitulation is not the calm feeling that began the music. There is a sense of desire, of hastening, of foreboding, a clash. We return with the Ilse theme, but the frenzied pace of cadenza continues, until, disaster and then, a grand pause. Finally, a return again to calm serenity that began our piece, but changed it is, for to return to the beginning would be impossible. A brief coda ends the piece as it should, and as the tonality resolves to the tonic resting point, so do the people resolve their quests. Well thought out, well written, well done.

  37. 5 out of 5

    Robert Blumenthal

    This is an utterly charming (almost too much at times) novel concerning the ability of music to be the cure that ails you. Frank is a 40-year-old owner of a store that only sells vinyl in the year 1988 when CDs are all the rage. He apparently has a knack to find the perfect music for one's life (a la the woman in the novel Chocolat), and he has helped many people to solve their problems. A beautiful young German woman name Ilse faints one day on the sidewalk outside the store, and the long slow This is an utterly charming (almost too much at times) novel concerning the ability of music to be the cure that ails you. Frank is a 40-year-old owner of a store that only sells vinyl in the year 1988 when CDs are all the rage. He apparently has a knack to find the perfect music for one's life (a la the woman in the novel Chocolat), and he has helped many people to solve their problems. A beautiful young German woman name Ilse faints one day on the sidewalk outside the store, and the long slow slog to romance and happily ever after is afoot. She claims no interest in music, but she obviously is hiding some important secret from Frank. Frank himself has a troubled relationship with his rather eccentric music loving mother, and is particularly adverse to ever hearing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah ever again. An arrangement is established where Frank and Ilse will meet once a week so that he can introduce her to the joy of listening to music, everything from Bach to Miles Davis to Nick Drake. He is a man who cannot connect in a loving relationship, she is a woman who is hiding something from the past. And yet they obviously have great feelings for each other, but they are blocked. They do connect, however, through their love of music (his from his childhood with his mother, hers much more complicated). The book is full of quirky characters, including a young assistant at the music store, a retired priest, a punky tattoo artist, amongst others. There is also the theme of the past being erased from our lives, gentrification, the loss of the small business economy, and the general degradation of society. The characters got a bit too quirky for my taste, and I tired a bit of all the loss of charming life. However, the central story was very well conceived and plotted. And though there were no surprises quite as impressive as the big one in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, there were a couple of nice twists and slow revelations that kept the narrative moving nicely. And the feelings between the two main characters were well developed. A somewhat lesser book by this wonderful author, but well worth the read.

  38. 5 out of 5

    Judith Rand

    I thought of writing a review but after reading the beautiful reviews by two of your readers, Amelia Gavea and Miriam Smith, anything I would say would be superfluous. They both express with eloquence the warmth and message of the book. Thanks to you both.

  39. 4 out of 5

    Magen

    This book was quite the surprise. When this book first made the rounds, I thought the premise looked nice, but figured it wouldn't have much to offer. Then a friend read it and encouraged me to read it. I honestly probably would have left it way at the bottom of my TBR if she hadn't borrowed me a copy and I needed a book in a pinch. I expected the book to be okay at best, but I found myself struggling to put it down every time I read it. There is something incredible about this writing. While it This book was quite the surprise. When this book first made the rounds, I thought the premise looked nice, but figured it wouldn't have much to offer. Then a friend read it and encouraged me to read it. I honestly probably would have left it way at the bottom of my TBR if she hadn't borrowed me a copy and I needed a book in a pinch. I expected the book to be okay at best, but I found myself struggling to put it down every time I read it. There is something incredible about this writing. While it seems straightforward and not much different than other books, it pulls you into the story and causes you to feel what the characters are feeling. I felt the shifts in the relationships and the tensions and the heartbreak. This is an incredibly well done book. In addition, the story itself is powerful. If I hadn't known a woman who also had the ability to read people's songs, I might not have believed in Frank's power, but even if I hadn't, I would have found power in the story. Because even if he wasn't exactly able to figure out what album people needed, it easily could be a metaphor about his ability to connect with people. The way music was used to discuss his connections with others was incredibly well done. I am impressed with the level of research which went into this book. If you are looking for a feel good story which will pull you into its depths, than I highly recommend this book. It was a great read.

  40. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    This might be my favorite read for 2018. I absolutely loved this novel. The author had a way of putting me on Unity Street with its shop owners, it’s customers and its history. I loved Frank, the way he knew his music and how he lifted individuals up with music. Frank was not a sell-out, he was a believer and he walked the walk. Individuals believed in Frank and Frank believed in music. Music wasn’t just words but they contained their own life. This abandoned, ransacked building intrigued Frank t This might be my favorite read for 2018. I absolutely loved this novel. The author had a way of putting me on Unity Street with its shop owners, it’s customers and its history. I loved Frank, the way he knew his music and how he lifted individuals up with music. Frank was not a sell-out, he was a believer and he walked the walk. Individuals believed in Frank and Frank believed in music. Music wasn’t just words but they contained their own life. This abandoned, ransacked building intrigued Frank the minute his eyes came upon it. There was a feeling inside this building and on Unity Street with its variety of small businesses, it felt like a small community to Frank. Frank only carried vinyl records inside his music store, the medium that Frank believed provided the optimal listening pleasure. This store became more than a music shop as time progressed. Music was the focus of the shop but friendships, stories, unwinding, and socializing became reasons why individuals stopped by Franks. As customers came into his shop requesting a certain artist or song, Frank would often fill that individual’s soul with other artists or tunes that he knew would stimulate that individual. Isle arrived one day. She didn’t seem to fit Unity Street. She left an impression on Frank’s heart. When Isle came back days later, she wanted something more from Frank. I loved the friendship that emerges between Frank and Isle. The author did an amazing job creating this relationship. I enjoyed the way it slowly grew and how others in this story played an important role in their bond. Frank gave Isle and his customers something they couldn’t find on their own, a sound that they didn’t even know existed. I was a mess at the end of this novel. My skin was crawling, I was choked up and I had to keep taking breaks as my eyes couldn’t read the words. I was an emotional mess. I would give this novel 15+ stars if I could. I know many individuals that I would love to buy this novel for, as I know they would fall in love with Frank, Isle and with the music that Frank shares with his customers. This is one that I definitely recommend. I won a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you so much! This review is my own personal opinion of this novel.

  41. 5 out of 5

    SueLucie

    With thanks to Random House UK/Transworld for the opportunity to read this. I have read a couple of Rachel Joyce’s previous books and enjoyed them, so was disappointed to find myself underwhelmed by this one. It started out well for me. I liked the setting, an independent record shop struggling to survive in a run-down parade of shops, selling only vinyl in the heyday of CDs. I also liked the idea of Frank choosing music for customers according to their mood, explaining the musicians’ background With thanks to Random House UK/Transworld for the opportunity to read this. I have read a couple of Rachel Joyce’s previous books and enjoyed them, so was disappointed to find myself underwhelmed by this one. It started out well for me. I liked the setting, an independent record shop struggling to survive in a run-down parade of shops, selling only vinyl in the heyday of CDs. I also liked the idea of Frank choosing music for customers according to their mood, explaining the musicians’ background and how the music makes him feel. I wanted more of this - more descriptions of album covers, since they are described as one of the best things about vinyl records, more detail of the music and its time and place, its impact not only on Frank himself but on society generally, perhaps a bit more modern music - these were the best parts of the novel for me and all too brief. The major problem for me, though, was that I couldn’t engage with Frank or with Ilse at all and had no investment in their relationship. I had no real feel for either of them and, without that, my interest in their story slumped. A shame, but I don’t think I’d rush to recommend.

  42. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    This novel shows 30 years of changes through the lives of two seemingly star crossed lovers, music of all genre and a seemingly gentrifying neighborhood. Frank has inherited a love of music from his cold and self-centered mother. His music shop is a shrine to vinyl records. He cannot convert to CDs as the world around him changes. From this shop, he helps others, but cannot help himself. The staff of the music shop and the owners of other small businesses on Unity Street are endearing. The change This novel shows 30 years of changes through the lives of two seemingly star crossed lovers, music of all genre and a seemingly gentrifying neighborhood. Frank has inherited a love of music from his cold and self-centered mother. His music shop is a shrine to vinyl records. He cannot convert to CDs as the world around him changes. From this shop, he helps others, but cannot help himself. The staff of the music shop and the owners of other small businesses on Unity Street are endearing. The changes that go on around them are realistic and unstoppable. The author has shown how people make their way in the world while they are in the throes of great change. There are several places on the internet where fans have posted the book's playlist.

  43. 4 out of 5

    Davida Chazan

    Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" and "The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy" brings us a new novel that starts simply with "There once was a music shop." No, this is no fairy tale, but a story of how music is an international language, which if you listen to it just right, can change your whole world. The blurb on this book says, "The Music Shop is about learning how to listen and how to feel; it's about second chances and choosing to be brave despite Rachel Joyce, bestselling author of "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" and "The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy" brings us a new novel that starts simply with "There once was a music shop." No, this is no fairy tale, but a story of how music is an international language, which if you listen to it just right, can change your whole world. The blurb on this book says, "The Music Shop is about learning how to listen and how to feel; it's about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all. Read more in my review here. http://drchazan.blogspot.com/2017/09/...

  44. 4 out of 5

    Gearóid

    Really nice chilled book to read. Very nostalgic bringing back great memory's of saving up to buy my vinyl records in the local record store. Such great times and great music! The other nice thing is the Spotify play list of all the music mentioned in the book. A really eclectic mix of music and a great introduction to some music I wasn't away of. So good fun and highly recommend this book.

  45. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 EXtra: Episode 1 of 2 Frank only sells vinyl, and he is never going to change. But then, everything does. Written and read by Rachel Joyce. Episode 2 of 2 The Music Shop reopens. However Frank's latest music lesson causes Ilse to reveal a painful secret. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08wvc2s

  46. 4 out of 5

    BookishStitcher

    5 Reasons I Loved This Book... 1. It made me want to buy a record player and some vinyl records 2. I completely loved the quiet lives of the people in this book 3. Everyone was hiding something that was secretly killing them inside; this ripped at my heart because I know what it is to feel unlovable 4. Chapters with song titles that enabled me to play the song on my phone while I read the short little chapters. It added so much depth to the book. 5. Frank, Frank, Frank I don't know if I have ever wa 5 Reasons I Loved This Book... 1. It made me want to buy a record player and some vinyl records 2. I completely loved the quiet lives of the people in this book 3. Everyone was hiding something that was secretly killing them inside; this ripped at my heart because I know what it is to feel unlovable 4. Chapters with song titles that enabled me to play the song on my phone while I read the short little chapters. It added so much depth to the book. 5. Frank, Frank, Frank I don't know if I have ever wanted to reach out and hug a character so much. Frank who gives so much, who can see into people's souls and know what music will heal them, and who thinks he isn't worthy of love. (I'm tearing up just writing this)

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