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A love story and a journey through music The exuisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Perfect and The Love Song of Miss ueenie HennessyIt's 1988 The CD has arrived Sales of the shiny new disks are soaring on high streets in cities across the England Meanwhile down a dead end street Frank's music shop stands small and brightly lit jam packed with records of every kind It attracts the lonely the sleepless the adrift There is room for everyone Frank has a gift for finding his customers the music they need Into this shop arrives Ilse Brauchmann practical brave well heeled Frank falls for this curious woman who always dresses in green But Ilse's reasons for visiting the shop are not what they seem Frank's passion for Ilse seems as misguided as his determination to save vinyl How can a man so in tune with other people's needs be so incapable of helping himself? And what will it take to show he loves her? The Music Shop is a story about good ordinary people who take on forces too big for them It's about falling in love and how hard it can be And it's about music how it can bring us together when we are divided and save us when all seems lost


10 thoughts on “The Music Shop

  1. says:

    ‘’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 conuered 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 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 uirky 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 uirky 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 herInitially 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 ownI 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 uality pop rock of the 1980s and the 90sSo 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 uestion 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 forWhy 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 dayThunder 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. says:

    The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce is a 2018 Random House publication A uirky 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 uniue 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 uniue 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 money for their productsBut 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 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 uirkiness to it that whimsical and nostalgic uality 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 uarter 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 of those


  3. says:

    I'm somewhere between 4 and 45 stars Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent —Victor HugoMusic 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 knowFrank 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 in the middle It had been this way ever since he could rememberFrank 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 of an experience for the listenerEven 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 divulgeNearly 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 herAs 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 uite 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 uite gotten pastSometimes all that people needed was to know they were not alone Other times it was a uestion 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 timesAs 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 plotI 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 FikrySee all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoriablogspotcom or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at


  4. says:

    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 changesThere'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 planThere'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 healedI 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 books by her 5 stars


  5. says:

    45★“ ‘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 housingKit 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 homesFrank’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 someoneFrank ‘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 selectionsThis reminds me of Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore with its peculiar collection of books and odd customers but this is a uniue 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 – yikesMany thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the preview copy from which I’ve uoted so uotes may change


  6. says:

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || PinterestHere'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 motherI 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 ourselvesIt's So Freaking AnnoyingAnother 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 uirkygirl 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 clothesIf 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


  7. says:

    NOW AVAILABLE 45 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 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 uibble 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 uestioned 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 uirky 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 uniuely charming even grumpy Maud There are also those that wander into the shop as a break in their day of wandering the streetsThere 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 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 heartsIn 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 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group Random House


  8. says:

    This was a lovely book spanning a twenty one year period about a stretch of shops in London with the address of Unity Street This turns out to be a metaphor for the way the various shop owners band together to support each other through personal and financial challenges There are twin brothers with a funeral parlor a female tattoo artist a Polish baker a religious store run by an ex priest and the music shop These business establishments face a row of apartments opposite that have seen better times along with a corner bomb site that was never redevelopedThe main character in the book is Frank a staunch devotee of vinyl records with a knack of advising customers of what music they need They might come into the shop thinking they want Chopin and walk out with Aretha Franklin insteadand be thankful for it Frank had a wealthy and eccentric mother named Peg and wanted to be called as such by Frank who relentlessly taught him a wide array of music along with the personal stories of their composers It was a fervent passion for Peg which she passed along to her son Unfortunately in her eccentricity she deprived Frank of a normal childhood and destroyed the most serious romantic relationship of his young life These experiences reverberate through Frank over the years along with the music It lands Frank into his music shop business surrounded by his coterie of interesting workersfriendsThen one day an attractive young woman in a pea green coat peers into the music shop's window and everything changes for Frank A real estate development corporation is pressuring the shop owners to sell the record company reps are coming down on Frank because he won't sell CDs or cassettes and Frank is battling strong feelings for the mysterious German girl that wandered into his shop months agoI once read another book by author Rachel Joyce called Perfect which I enjoyed very muchwhich is why I wanted to read this This is a very different storyline from that book and almost as engaging Joyce is also famous for the award winning The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss ueenie Hennessy both waiting to be read in my kindle libraryMany thanks to the publisher Random House who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley


  9. says:

    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


  10. says:

    35 Stars rounded downA uirky sweet easy readFrank 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 livingOne 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 uite lovely together The characters were full of life and uite interesting In addition “The Music Shop” was a uick 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 on 12818