Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop
By Rachel Joyce
Published by Transworld (13 July 2017)

Publisher's description
1988. 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 ... 

My verdict
The Music Shop is a heartwarming character-driven novel with rhythmic writing, descriptive prose and gentle humour. It's a quirky and nostalgic easy read and should appeal to most people.

Set in the late 1980s, it prompted me to reminisce about the music and culture of my teenage years. This was a great time of change, with the housing boom and property development, and within music itself, with the rise of shiny CDs and synthetic pop bands. Yet Frank, the key character in The Music Shop, doesn't like change. Instead, he loves his old vinyls and the other small high street shops. He has a gift for choosing music to suit his customers' needs, yet he ignores his own.

The Music Shop has a love story at its heart, but not just between Frank and the mysterious Ilse. It's about loving yourself, your community and the changing world. This is a book about dealing with change, whether it's sticking to your principles or accepting that the world is moving on around you - and that you'll be lost if you don't take the plunge yourself.

The ending is a bit 'cheesy' and maybe a little rushed. But overall, this relaxing read provides much food for thought.

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher (through Lovereading).

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