The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce


My Review:

If you love the 80s, music, tradition, England and love, you will want to read The Music Shop right away!  Frank had an odd childhood; growing up he called his single mother by her first name and, the only thing his not so nurturing, nontraditional mom ever taught him about was music.  Now, a single man outside of London, Frank owns a small music shop on a run down street.  He only sells vinyl records; refuses to keep up with the times and offer cds or even cassette tapes.  He has given up on the possibility for love and seems content in his role in life as a music expert. Frank matches customers and friends to songs he thinks they need to know.  He is quirky and old fashioned, but likable and has a reputation for being a good man and helping lots of people.

One day a beautiful, mysterious woman shows up at his shop


and faints outside the door.  Frank helps her up and sparks fly…they both feel a connection but it it is fleeting and then she is gone.  Frank secretly hopes she returns…and she does.  She wants him to teach her about music.  Frank and this woman both look forward to their weekly sessions where they talk about music and they become closer as she begins to reveal something personal about herself, but their attachments to the past feed into their fears for the future, holding them back.

SPOILER ALERT:  It takes a long time for love to prevail – she takes the bull by the horns, he finally comes to terms with his past as he recognizes his missed opportunities for better things: success, love, happiness, music brings them together and yes, they live happily ever after.

This is a joyous love story with an silly ending, but if you enjoy music like I do and can get caught up in an unlikely love story, you will laugh, cry and truly appreciate Rachel Joyce’s The Music Shop.  I loved the odd characters, the painstaking journey, and how music brings people together, uplifting us all.  I highly recommend this book!

As seen on Goodreads:

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music–and love–in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.


About the Author:

Rachel Joyce has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman’s Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for best radio play. She moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning a Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver.


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