Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need. Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann. Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind.
‘There once was a music shop.’
Once again, Rachel Joyce has written a book that is heart warming, entertaining, beautiful and utter perfection. I adored ‘The Music Shop’ and didn’t want it to end. The writing is exquisite, every page just sings with beautiful notes.
The general everyday goings on at the music shop were highly entertaining, I had many laugh out loud moments reading this. I fell in love with every single character, the way Rachel Joyce brings characters to life is something truly special. There’s our hero, Frank, scared to let people in and who’s fractious relationship with his mother grew his love of vinyl. There’s the mysterious Ilse, who wants to be taught about music but seems to be hiding something. I felt for Maud with her crazy hair and unrequited love, was intrigued by Father Anthony and entertained by Kit. All these characters became my friends and I was bereft to leave them.
I found many many parallels with Frank’s vinyl selling and my book selling. These new fangled things come along and threaten what we’ve always known. But with time people turn back to what has always been there and what they always trust. Frank’s customers come to him for recommendations very much in the same way a book sellers customers comes to them. I also couldn’t help but be amused by Frank’s regular customer, Mrs Roussos, who goes into the shop, hums a tune she’s heard, wanting Frank to tell her what record it is. This is very similar to the queries I get – ‘I’m looking for a book, it has a red cover, I can’t quite remember who it’s by…’
This book was a sheer delight from start to finish. I want to just give it and all its characters a great big cuddle. This is a book to savour and relish, it’s a tale of past hurts, healing and hope. Rachel Joyce always manages to make me smile and give a little sigh of happiness when I read her books and ‘The Music Shop’ was no exception.
‘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.’
BOOKISH CORNER RATING – 5/5 STARS
Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’, ‘Perfect’ and ‘The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy’. ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into 34 languages. Rachel Joyce was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘Writer of the Year’ 2014.
She is the award-winning writer of over 30 original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4. Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.
‘The Music Shop’ is out now in hardback published by Doubleday. With a huge thank you to Alison Barrow for my review copy.
If you enjoy ‘The Music Shop’ then these will sing to you too:
‘The Museum of You’ by Carys Bray
‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce
‘The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey’ by Rachel Joyce
‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman
‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’ by Joanna Cannon
‘Lost And Found’ by Brooke Davis