Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: The Music Shop

On a run-down street in England, there is a music shop. The owner Frank stubbornly continues to stock the shop with his beloved records, even as his reps tell him that time is almost over. Frank has a gift for knowing exactly what music people need. His shop is a beacon to his customers and the other people who live and work on the street--Frank's assistant Kit, a tattoo artist, a former priest, the baker, and a pair of brother undertakers. One day, a beautiful woman faints outside and the two strike up a friendship as Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. Their tentative lessons will help them both open up their hearts to other people and to music again.

The Music Shop is a love story on multiple levels. From the first time they meet, readers wonder if Frank and Ilse will be able to overcome their worries and love each other. But it is also a story of love for music, for a certain place and time, and for your community. Parts of the story are told in flashback, as Frank remembers his mother introducing him to the music of Bach and Beethoven and discovering Aretha Franklin and The Sex Pistols. Readers are also treated to a beautiful look at what it means to be a part of a neighborhood where you commiserate with your neighbors at the local bar, help them out in times of crisis, and fight gentrification alongside them.

Rachel Joyce clearly excels at writing about the lives of everyday people--no one in this story is going to become a millionaire or discover they are a member of the royal family. But we get to see the joys and tragedies of their lives and remember with the characters that a good friend and a good song can go a long way in carrying us through. This is a sweet book and there's never really any doubt that everyone will end up with a happy(ish) ending, but it's a delight to read while humming along the entire time.

The Music Shop
By Rachel Joyce
Random House January 2018
256 pages
Read via Netgalley

Other books by Rachel Joyce: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey, Perfect


  1. I’ve had an advance reading copy of this on my shelves for ages now but for some reason I’ve not picked it up yet. That’s despite how much I absolutely LOVED her Harold Fry book.

    Reading the summary of this book made me think of High Fidelity. Did you find them at all similar?

  2. I like these kinds of books....usually they're set in a bookshop, but a music shop would work, too. :)

  3. I keep seeing this book pop up, and I keep hesitating about putting it on my TBR. I don't know why, though, because it sounds really good!