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Publisher's Summary

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

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.

©2018 Rachel Joyce (P)2018 Random House Audio

What members say

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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 01-05-18

Hallelujah . . Hallelujah!!

Having loved both “Harold Fry” and “Perfect”, I downloaded this new Rachel Joyce release as soon as I saw it, and it jumped straight to the top of my listening list. And here in the first week of the new year, I wonder if there can possibly be a book that will top this wonderful story for the rest of 2028.

Joyce has imbued her eclectic cast of characters with life, humor, generosity, yearning and raw emotions. A true community of people who look out for each other even in the face of threats from developers and competition from slick franchise merchandisers gives us something to root for – for the neighbors individually and collectively. Frank, with his giant heart and personality is the glue holding the little strip of shop owners together. We yearn for him to finally find the right one to allow him to emerge from his carefully cultivated emotional shell that keeps him protected from any romantic commitment.

I was delighted by the many musical references punctuating the narrative, many familiar, some sending me to Google for enlightenment. Joyce drew me into this community from the first words, and never let me go until, surrounded by an alarming pile of tissues, I came to the resolution of the lives of people I have come to love dearly. This was a one-day listen, causing me to shamefully neglect my daily routine until I turned my pod off in the wee hours, thoroughly satisfied. Very highly recommended.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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so very good

gave me the inspired Ugly Cry. will keep my eye out for film adaptation, def would make a great indie British movie with of course a great sound track

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful and a proper ending

touching and warm. And Ensemble of characters. For me Harold Fry was different and better, but had I read this one first I would have chosen this one as my favorite. Two years ago Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy changed my life. Frank and Ilse reminded me again of what is important through all these changes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful story.

I listen to music in a whole new light! So sorry I gave away my vinyl.

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A gem!

One of those rare books that makes me long for my commute home. Excellent story, excellent narrator. Hooked me immediately.

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Just a beautiful book

I’ve read a couple Rachel Joyce books. I like this one the best: beautiful writing, a lot of it is about music, and the characters are interesting. Plus, the narrator is outstanding. You really can’t do much better.

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Brought back memories

Loved this unusual setting - a record shop. Brought me back to the days in the 80s when this type of shop was a destination. Story moves along nicely, good characters and easy storyline. Narrator did a brilliant job and sounded really enthusiastic about music, hope to hear more by him.

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Encore

Loved from beginning to end. The narrator was outstanding. I only wish I had a complete list of all the music mentioned.

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  • PJ
  • 01-13-18

Delightfully Resilient Musical Time!

This was an enlightening story that everyone should read to learn or perhaps remember, about musics constant impression on our lives!
The big lesson though, is to grasp love, rather than let it dawdle lost in a space of any years, certainly not twenty years. Never be afraid to love, Frank!

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Joyful

Anyone who loves music and stories will enjoy this book. It’s fun, characters to care about and a new way to get hooked on music. Enjoyed it and smiled at the end. It’s worth a listen.