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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

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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.

11 of 13 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

2 of 2 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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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.

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Another thing of beauty from Rachel Joyce

How I love Rachel Joyce. In The Music Shop we meet Frank, an eternal optimist who knows about almost nothing except music, and who believes his vinyl record shop—which is struggling to remain relevant amidst the rise of CDs in 1980's Britain—is his venue by which to help the world. He has the intuitive ability to know what records people need to hear, and has even saved a marriage or two through his almost magical curation skills. Music geeks will eat this up (who doesn't want to hear Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata described as "punk"), but as in all of Joyce's stories, the true elegance comes from her identification of the turning points in a person's life. What are those micro-traumas that set a child on their seemingly accidental path; what was that moment of (in)decision that changed everything? As a parent, Joyce's prescience terrifies me, but I also can't look away. As a bonus track (pun!) Steven Hartley's narration—Google him, you know this guy—is masterful: in turns obsessively enthusiastic and heartbreaking, especially amazing given that it’s his first turn behind the mic.

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  • alison
  • glen allen, VA, United States
  • 01-11-18

Loved the story!

For a book about music I would have preferred the “sung” parts to be more recognizable. There were songs I had to look up to recall the tune. Was that intentional?

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I could practically hear the music in this book

What a wonderful story, referencing fantastic music and the love that I share for vinyl. Sometimes I would pause the story and stream (blasphemous I know) the tunes to further immerse myself into the story and be on the same page, figuratively, as Frank when he’s describing the songs. Great music, great story, great storytelling. I think I just might relisten to this one.

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Great book!

Really enjoyed the story and the characters. The music references were delicious too. If you like high fidelity by Nick Hornby you will like this book.