The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop

Rachel Joyce

A charming unconventional love story from the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry about the owner of a record shop and the mysterious young woman who steals his heart.

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“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story.”—People


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.

Praise for The Music Shop
“Captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance.”The Washington Post
“Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”The Boston Globe
“Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction)
“Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit. . . . But what really elevates The Music Shop is Joyce’s detailed knowledge of—and passion for—music.”The Guardian

Advance Galley Reviews

This novel has the ingredients that I love to consume: quirky characters, music references (I LOVE music!), David vs Goliath situations, unlikely friendships. Unfortunately, the way they were mixed up resulted in a hard to swallow, boring dish. I never got a clear image of the characters, and worst of all, I never really cared, so that made the reading of this novel feel like work when it shouldn't have been. I hate to say this, but all the music trivia, at times felt like unnecessary information dumping. While there were occasional quotable passages, the rest of the writing was contrived and the flow and pace were off. I am so annoyed I didn't enjoy this novel more. So this is getting the dreaded 3 stars because I was underwhelmed.

This is a charming (but not sappily sweet) book about music and love. Frank, the owner of the music store, has the uncanny ability to find exactly the right record for each customer, even if they do not know themselves exactly what they are looking for. Ilse wanders into Frank’s store one day and feels at home amidst the jumble of uncatalogued records and the eccentric employees, neighbors, and regular customers who hang out there. It is clear that Frank and Ilse are drawn to each other, but something keeps them from becoming closer. Both Frank & Ilse have a mysterious past, & it is speculated that something in their pasts keeps them apart. The characters in The Music Store form a strong community, sharing news of their lives and gathering together to socialize. But, as the other shopkeepers gradually leave the neighborhood, Frank & his store are left alone. Records fall out of style & are replaced by something called CDs, which Frank refuses to stock. So, as the neighborhood dies, Frank’s store slowly dies. Ilse leaves town, for unknown reasons & to an unknown destination. Will Frank & Ilse look for each other? How will they be able to find each other? Will music & love triumph in the end? The very best part of the book is when either Frank or Franks mother (in flashbacks) speaks about the composers and the songs. I learned so much about music! And it was brilliant of Penguin to set up a Spotify playlist so that the reader can simultaneously listen to and read about the musical selections. I greatly enjoyed this book. Thank you to Penguin books and the First to Read program for the opportunity to read and review this book in return for an honest review.

I had a difficult time connecting with the characters and style of writing so I never finished the book. This is my first book by this author, but I have heard great things about her other novels.

This is a fun, easy read full of quirky, hopeless, nostalgic characters and their charm -- an homage to vinyl like the movie Be Kind, Rewind is to VHS. Frank and Ilse meet-cute when she faints outside his record shop, and his crew of lovable loser shopkeepers try their best to bring them together despite all of their deep wounds from past loves and dreams gone wrong. I loved seeing at the end that this book has a Spotify playlist (that should be up front!) because music is so critical, from Frank's knack for finding the music people need and his sense of grouping classical and rock and other albums together when their common feeling is similar that transcends style is a refreshing way of looking at music; as well as the education he receives from his mother and passes along to others about the songs and the meanings and stories behind them. The same desperate feelings that lead them to create this songs are the ones that compel the characters and other listeners in their lives.

The writing is hypnotizing. You can feel how much Frank loves the woman and music with few words which I think is a sign of good writing. The world Joyce created on Unity Street with the shop owners and the residents across the road is so normal and ordinary, but described so beautifully. Their sense of community made their world feel so inviting. You want to sit at England's Glory and listen to Kit ramble and Maud complain. You want to pop into The Music Shop for a new record and stop and chat with Father Anthony. You want to belong on this street. Frank can see and feel the music unlike most people. He can look at a person, hear them tell a little about their selves and what they came into the shop for, and know exactly what song or album they need. It was incredible. When he is giving music lessons and talking about what he can see while listening to the songs he's picked, it is mesmerizing. I've never read anything like it. Luckily Penguin created a Spotify playlist with all the songs so you can listen and try to find what he describes. It forever changed the way I listen to Moonlight Sonata. Make sure you listen while you're reading. You won't be sorry. My only critique I didn't think the ending perfectly fit the rest of the book. I understand the emotion factor Joyce is going for, but for me, it fell a little flat. I kind of wish that the final scene hadn't been a large gesture and instead was smaller and more understated like the rest of the novel. The ending, however, does not take away from the rest of this magical novel. I loved it.

Very disappointed. My iPad died while I had this book. My new iPad would not let me download the previous reading app I used so was not able to read I emailed customer service a minimum of 3 times without ever receiving any help. After half my books expired I figured it out myself was so disappointed in the First to Read customer service department.

This was such a unique story, a love story, a family story, a story about music and an ode to the love of vinyl. I truly didn't expect to enjoy this so much. It was sweet and fresh and I savored it. This was a special story that will find a great audience for its featuring. Rich cast of characters and an intruiging premise.

This one is a hard one to write. “The Music Shop” took me a few days to read. It is a love story and a story of trying to save vinyl. The writing was very well done but it was not really my type of book. I gave it the chance because it is always good to try something new. I read it until the end because I wanted to know what happened with Isle and Frank’s unrequited love. Would I read it again? No. Isle Brauchmann was a mystery in gloves and a green coat. The members of Unity Street were a community just trying to stay in business with a developer buying out businesses. The book spans decades to show you the strength of failing and to see if love can bring you back from it. I received an egalley ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fantastic read with an ending that brought me to tears. The story takes you through an adventure of love, heartache and companionship through music. I look forward to rereading the story while following along with the music and it's magic as described by Joyce. Music is magic, as is Joyce's words and Frank's lovingly miserable character.

Unfortunately, I am having issues with getting my downloads to work. :(

This was my first Rachel Joyce novel. I enjoyed a lot of it but sometimes it felt slow. I didn't really care for the ending. The characters frustrated me a lot!

The Music Shop takes place in 1980’s England, where CD’s are on their way of taking over vinyl. Music shop owner, Frank, has a gift of telling the people who come into his shop exactly what they need to hear, musically speaking. Frank’s world consists of his desperate attempt to save vinyl, his music shop, and the quiet rundown street where his and a few other lingering shops still reside. His world is rocked when one day, a woman passes out outside of his shop. While the author’s name sounds familiar, I don’t think I have read any of her other books, but I enjoyed this book a lot. The characters are quirky in a lovable way and you definitely empathize with them. I liked the focus on music and how it has the power to change your mood, your day, or even your life.

As I sit here writing this review, I listen to my turn table and hum along to Brahm's Symphony No. 1. I love music, this book is a Vinyl Aficionado's dream. Reading The Music Shop I desired to follow along to the sound track of Frank's life. I went to my own collection to find the music listed in the each chapter, if i didn't have it, I went to Youtube. I created a playlist for my reading enjoyment. Even lying down on the floor as suggested by Frank to get the complete experience. I wondered why there wasn't a playlist included, thenI arrived at the last page of the book, ding, Ms. Joyce had sure enough had included a link to her Spotify Playlist My only complaint from the whole book is that I wished this playlist had been at the beginning. However, maybe my journey of searching and taking the time to find the music was just as valuable as Frank's mothers stories are to him and made the experience of reading this book even more special? I hope to think so. Ms. Joyce take a delightful story and sets it into a run down street where the characters are lovable, friendly, community oriented and giving to each other. The musical gift that Frank, the Music Shop's owner has is second to none. I'm not gonna blab on what that he does, you will just have to read the book to find out as it is special, super special, I tell ya. When Ilse Brachmann faints outside Franks shop on Unity Street you know an adventure is afoot. Unity Street sits at the end of a small community nestled among the ravages of a 40 year old war in the middle of London. Each member of Frank's business and living community adds to the story with the richness of their varying personality quirks. I throughly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of Frank's friends and neighbors. The Music Shop is a delightful tribute to decades of wonderful music and takes that music and makes it swell with Ms. Joyce's writing. I love it as much as I loved Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The Music Shop is definitely a keeper. “Like music, said Peg. Even when it was over, it kept living inside you.” ? Rachel Joyce, The Music Shop

The book was a love story with vinyl records. The characters were well developed. The story line was great. I felt like I was in the same room with them. Thank you for a lovely read.

This novel was wonderful! I enjoyed the delightful characters and the musical tie in to life. Rachel creates interesting scenes that bring the characters together. This novel is set in 1988. Frank has a music shop on a street that has many other small businesses. Frank helps his customers find just the right type of music that they need. One day, a young woman named Ilse Brachmann enters Frank’s life and changes his and everyone else’s lives. This novel is about music, small businesses, community, friendship, and love.

As an avid vinyl record collector and lover of a variety of music I have to say, author Rachel Joyce does more than capture the essence of what loving music truly feels like but what love feels like as a whole. If perfection can be achieved in a work of fiction Rachel Joyce has achieved it in her quirky small band of characters who come together in the late 1980's England to bond over the hardships life throws at you, community, music, and love. This is a book for any music lover, for the descriptions of specific pieces of music that lines the chapters of this book are works of art in themselves. Just as the main character Frank has a talent for knowing what record each person needs in their life, Rachel Joyce has the ability to let you hear and feel the emotion of each piece of music through the words of her characters. This book is beautifully written, while often melancholy in tone the overall feeling is that of hope and joy that plays through the enthusiasm of the characters persevering through life and telling a tale that will not soon leave the reader. Much as Rhino Records does a start your ears off right around New Year, this book plays in perfectly with start your reading list off right and listen right along with the songs in the book! Five out of five stars.

This enchanting story is a love letter to music and the power it holds. Set over 21 years on Unity Street, in a small, London suburb, the story follows Frank the die-hard vinyl loving record store owner and the community of residents and shop-owners that surround him. His mother fostered a deep love and appreciation of music at the expense of Frank finding love himself. Ilse enters and unexpectedly opens Frank up to the possibility of love if he allows himself to fall. Rachel Joyce has drawn up vivid and charming characters that also allow the reader to see the effects of change on small neighborhood communities. These all lead up to a truly moving ending showing the power that music has to heal.

A very charming cast of characters. It was very easy to "slip into" their lives. I thought it was a heartwarming story that I would definitely read again! Thank you so much Penguin Books and the First to Read website for an advance copy of the book in exchange for a review.

I have been struggling with my reading for awhile. First, I just kept grinding away, hoping to find what I needed in a quantity of books. Then I slowed way down, hoping I could find what I needed in the silence. Neither worked, and I wondered if I needed to stop reading completely for awhile.  Than I read Rachel Joyce's The Music Shop.  Frank owns a music shop, where he sells vinyl. He struggles, yet he refuses to sell the cassettes or CDs that other stores can hardly keep on their shelves. Only vinyl. But Frank has a secret. When a customer comes in, he can tell from what they say and what they don't say exactly what music they need to be listening to. He can use these musical choices to open closed hearts, to repair what is broken in people, to bring people together, to build confidence, to inspire action.  So when the woman shows up at the store and faints, and Frank (and all his best friends in the neighborhood who happened to witness this) brings her inside his shop, he knows that his life will never be the same. Because he has met a person who he can't look at and hear music. He hears only silence. All he knows is that his life has been changed by this stranger in a green coat.  The Music Shop is about the connection between people. Between a man and his mother. Between a community of people who are struggling to survive in a neighborhood where smaller specialty stores and family businesses are being depleted by of the bigger chains. Between a man and himself. Between a man and a woman. And between us and the artists who inspire us to live larger, dream bigger, and listen more carefully to the world around us.  In the novel, music is the art that heals and inspires. But in my real life, it's writing. Rachel Joyce's prose is music in its own way, weaving its way into my soul and reminding me of exactly what kind of magic it is that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Just like Frank giving his customers the music they need, Joyce gave me the words I needed to remember what it is I love about reading, about living, about loving. Clearly, this is the book I needed to start this new year. I highly recommend it to everyone else who is needing a boost of heart and humanity to move into 2018.  And for those who want the music along with the words, Joyce has created a playlist on Spotify of Frank's music. Or you can just jot down all this suggestions and make your own playlist based on what speaks to you of his recommendations (warning: it will be a long list; Frank has a way of talking about music that makes you want to stop the world and listen to it all).  The Music Shop is a beautiful novel of love and music, and I think everyone who is searching for something more will find warmth, beauty, and connection in its pages. Read it soon and reread it often.  Galleys for The Music Shop were provided by Penguin Random House through their First to Read program.

When I started this book, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. But the author (and the story)was able to grab my attention within the first couple of chapters. The majority book encompasses a 21 year period, beginning in 1988 and ending in 2009 (there is an epilogue that occurs a few years after the last chapter). I really liked the way the author told the story of Frank, Ilse, The Music Shop, and the rest of the residents of Unity Street. It's mainly told from the perspective of Frank and Ilse, but we also get glimpses into the lives of some of the other characters (some of those chapters are from the perspective of those characters). I also enjoyed reading about the relationship between Frank and Peg and their mutual love of music. This book is mainly about the relationship between Frank and Ilse, but to me it's more about the power of music and seems to be more of a love story with music. It's also about the importance of friendship and community and how those things (plus music) can save us from ourselves. This book was different from the books I usually read, but I'm glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone and read it. Many thanks to Penguin Books and the First to Read website for the opportunity to read this book.

4 stars. Unity Street is full of strange characters and unique shops, including Frank and his record store.  Frank had an unusual upbringing, a definite aversion to the new-fangled c.d.'s and strict rules against falling in love.  One day Ilse, a mysterious woman with a penchant for the color green, happens upon the shop and mixes things up for Frank and the residents of Unity Street.  This is a heartwarming novel about the importance of community and the power of music to change lives.  It was the perfect novel to start out 2018.  I received this book from Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

The Music Shop is a fun, quick-read by the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. The book takes place in 1988 when music CD’s will make vinyl records all but obsolete. A music store owner, Frank, has a knack for selecting the perfect music for his customers – some may say the songs are even life-changing. Frank refuses to sell anything but vinyl records in his store, even if it costs him customers. The book introduces to a quirky group of characters who are fun to get to know. My hang-up about the book is the “love at first” sight story line – two characters fall in love despite the secrets that they are keeping. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it focused solely on the customers and the nearby shop keepers – and how Frank is able to change their lives through music. The love story I could have done without. Thank you to First to Read for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book! Frank is such an exceptional character and his love of music just carries throughout the story. I loved the bit of mystery that was built in and the way you as the reader just kept wondering if the mystery woman and Frank would get together. Cannot wait for more from Rachel Joyce. She is not a definite must read author. Definitely recommending to my reader friends.

I loved this book. The mystery woman in the green coat was intriguing and kept me wanting to know more. Loved the variety of characters introduced in the story. And the love that Frank had for this mystery woman took my heart. I couldn’t wait to see if they got together. Also loved the fact where Frank teaches us about music throughout the book as well! A nice touch. We are also treated to the fact that Spotify has a playlist that features the songs mentioned in the book, which I thought was another nice touch!!! And the ending was perfect! I truly loved and enjoyed this book!!

I'm writing this with the biggest smile on my face. THE MUSIC SHOP by Rachel Joyce is such a cute, fun, heart-warming read. Sometimes I find it difficult to connect with characters who are a lot older (or younger) than myself, but I loved Frank and his passion for music--it's almost palpable. You can feel it seeping through the pages. This was the perfect quick and joyful read. I highly enjoyed and recommend.

This is one satisfying reading. Quirky, cozy and, in many ways, indulging. It has some unrealistic characters but nonetheless enjoyable in their own way. Although the ending is more Hollywood style (in my opinion it diminishes its quality), the story is a bittersweet one that you can enjoy with company. The company of the music that Frank, the main character, shares with his clients and that the author shares on Spotify (Although I made my own playlist from page one). This is the first time I actually listen to music while reading, it gave me a rhythm to follow and allowed me to enjoy, not only the book, but the music in a new way. This book works as a reminder of the power of songs to cure and transport. As for the story itself, it is one of changes, losses and discoveries; one about love and friendship. About the melancholy of the past and the way it affects our present. This is a lovely book, with brilliant moments and others that were... well... too much.

This was a lovely deceptively un-simple story of love and friendship and making (finding?) a family for yourself. The quirky protagonist who finds love despite him- (or her-) self is becoming a genre of its own, and I must admit that I was afraid I'd find this one a bit too much to order in that regard. I'm pleased to report that it surprised me by being more engaging than I first thought it would. The writing style was easy-going (if at times a bit overly-detailed in the minutiae of daily life on Unity Street) and the characters offered a spectrum of personalities and foibles. At times, it did feel a bit, well, MUCH. But overall it was a pretty and engaging tale of perseverance in the face of adversity - both external and internal.

I received an advanced copy of this book in electronic format from in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted to I really enjoyed the book. It was a great story with interesting characters. I loved the education on the music Frank provided throughout the story. I thought it was a nice tie in that there is also a spotify play list for The Music Shop that allows the reader to listen to all of the pieces mentioned if they are not already familiar. I will definitely recommend the book to my fellow readers.

The Music Shop was a quirky, cozy, satisfying read. Frank, along with the other characters who spend their days on Unity Street, is so beautifully, painfully human. His relationship with Ilse, although compelling and satisfying, is only part of the story. His shop where all are welcomed and his gift of sharing just the right music that a person needs draws readers in. The descriptions of different albums and artists woven throughout the story pass Frank's gifts on to readers and leads to seek the music that might be needed in their own lives. Bibliotherapy meets music therapy. The story's structure, divided into different sides of a record combine with Frank's bittersweet memories of his mother, Peg, moves the story along nicely. While I enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I liked The Music Shop even better because of the musical aspects, the unusual cast of characters, the emphasis on th

There is a music store on a dead end street in England somewhere owned by Frank. “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. And that’s how he helped people.” Frank not only helps strangers who walk in the door but the other shop owners on Unity Street. Maud – a tattoo artist. He introduces her to Adagio for Strings by Barber. It moves her. She loves Frank. Frank does not love her back. He doesn’t have time. Father Anthony – an ex-priest who runs a religious articles shop – Frank introduces him to jazz. But most importantly – Ilse Brachmann – a beautiful German woman to whom Frank gives music lessons and who is not as she seems. This is a lovely book that teaches lessons on difference (the characters in this book really are DIFFERENT) and new beginnings. It was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

I won a copy of this book from Penguin First To Read. Thank you. A bit slow to start, but amazing crescendo at the end!

The first few chapters of Rachel Joyce's novel remind me of *The Language of Flowers*, the odious *Mistress of Spices*, and *Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore*, the one novel in this trio that I liked. In *The Music Shop*, Frank Adair sells vinyl records and only vinyl records in his Unity Avenue store in unnamed English city. He has the empathic ability to give people the music they need in any given situation. As the characters developed in Joyce's novel, I grew to enjoy it more. Quirky, likeable people orbit *The Music Shop*, but one of my favorites is Frank’s mother. Peg is there in spirit. Though I also blame her for Frank's inability to accept change -- or love. Her stories about pieces of music or about albums or musicians are marvelous. I'd rate this novel a 3/5.

I didn’t get interested in the book until about page 213. There were a couple of moments earlier that sparked my interest, but they didn’t last long. The story moved too slow to keep my attention. The characters were different, but I realize I don’t want to read about music so much as listen to it. Since that was a Major factor in this book, it became more of a chore to read. That being said, I like that we got to see where the characters ended up and we weren’t left hanging.

This was a cutesy book. It is not what I would normally read and appreciate the opportunity to read a mellow book.

I received an advanced copy of this book in electronic format from in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted to The book is divided into parts that play along with the music-heavy (strictly vinyl!) theme: Sides A, B, C & D with a “hidden track” at the end. The author introduces us to Frank, a very flawed character that comes from a broken home, the product of an eccentric, music loving woman who cannot find love (not from lack of trying). Frank’s upbringing included an education from his mother, Peg (“don’t call me mother”), in classical music on vinyl through a Dansette record player. They live in a historic white home on the beach. When Frank reaches his teenage years, he finds his own contemporary music and falls in love with Deborah, a normal girl from a normal family…she is so normal, Frank realizes how abnormal his life has been. Then, we are fast-forwarded to a broken Frank, who has lost most of his loves: Peg, his home and Deborah. He has hardly anything to his name when – after drifting aimlessly - he wanders upon Unity Street. It is here he decides the next chapter of his life will be to open a record store in the late 1970’s and let his last love (vinyl) lead the way. Frank has a gift: his ability to listen to someone and recommend music that will heal them or bring them joy. A decade later, with the introduction to CD’s, his love of vinyl is threatened and Frank does all he can to save it. That’s when love walks back into his life: Ilse Brauchmann, a mysterious woman from Berlin that has a fiancée. Ilse herself is no stranger to lost loves: parents, fiancée, the ability to play beautiful violin. The book shifts from Frank’s woes, to Ilse’s. The rest of the story focuses on how two people who have lost most everything they love, push away their last real love for fear of being hurt again only to find that love will find a way.

The Music Shop is a cutesy little story about Frank, the record store owner, and the friendships and relationships he's built on Unity Street. He's got a knack for knowing just what record to recommend to his patrons, but the normal routine of his life is changed with the arrival of a girl in a green peacoat. Overall, I gave this story 3/5 stars. It took awhile to get into the story, but I was very invested for the last half of the book. I'd recommend to anyone looking for an easy read, that still tugs on your heartstrings.

This book has several things going for it that Rachel Joyce is so good at. Her ability to create quirky lovable characters is legendary. I loved the group of misfits that come together in this town that is slowly dying, as business after business closes down. Frank not only refuses to sell his record shop, he also refuses to sell anything other than vinyl records, in an age when CD's are becoming the norm. This part of the story was my favorite, but we are also introduced to a female protagonist who comes into Frank's shop one day. Unfortunately this story kind of takes over, and I never really warmed up to the relationship between these two characters. There was also a lot of extraneous music information (while Frank gives Ilse music lessons), that I would have appreciated more had I been more of a music aficionado. The writing was lovely, and it was obvious that Ms. Joyce has a great grasp of the effect music can have on any individual. Definitely worth a read if you are into a wide range of music, and a great study of some lovable misfits coming together to save their town. Despite not being a big fan of the Frank/Ilse relationship, I still enjoyed the story as a whole.

This book contained very quirky characters. Frank decides to open a record shop on a quiet street and only carries vinyl records, no cds! He has the special gift of knowing just the right music for all of his patrons, especially if they have some type of difficulty in their lives. Special friendships are formed with the other shop owners located on his street. A mystery woman dressed in green appears at his shop and changes his life forever. I felt a sadness while reading this book, there seemed to be so much heartache for the many characters, but it came through with an uplifting end. There were bits of humor and I learned a lot about music and their composers. Music definitely has an effect on the soul and it is clearly shown in The Music Shop.

The Music Shop is quirky, heartwarming and unexpected. I received an ARC courtesy of first to read. I’m really on the fence about loving it or finding it completely off putting as to how the characters are so stuck in their narrow little groove. It is frustrating, funny and very, very human. What I did find incredible were the music stories. The passion was incredible and that to me was the actual heart of the book. It humanized each composer and I found out about things that I had no clue, as I am a listener, not a student of composing. That is what made the book a surprise and kept you from wanting to shoot the characters with a bee bee gun! Kept you guessing, frustated but all in all entertained, and musically enlightened!

Books have shown me many things over the years. They have taken me to the past and the future, showing me distance lands. They have given me information, opening my eyes to new ideas. But this is the first book I’ve ever read that taught me how to LISTEN. As I get older, I realize that most things are cyclical. But like classic clothes, some things are timeless. Two of these are vinyl and music. “The Music Shop” will be one of my favorites books of 2018. (Yes, I can definitively say that even thought 2018 hasn’t started yet.) I fell in love with this hodgepodge of misfits - Kit, Ilse, Frank, even Maud. Kit reminds me of my adolescent years - gawky, awkward and eager to please. Maud, bitter and cantankerous but still loving from afar. Frank, the personification of detachment but also a man steadfast in his beliefs. And Ilse, the catalyst that starts the whole thing into motion. This book could easily have become a typical broken boy meets broken girl and they fix each other together. But it never becomes that trite. It never sells out - just like Frank. I found myself waiting impatiently to return to the story, just to be with the characters for awhile. The idea of putting a playlist with the book is marketing genius. (Not that I didn’t keep my own throughout). But a quick suggestion - since each chapter title is also a song, add the artist. When you read the chapters with the selected music playing, it really does enhance the experience. And can you add more songs to the Spotify list, please??? It’s a shame that there isn’t a website where you can input a song and get recommendations. On a personal note, this book came to me at just the right time. My husband and I have recently discovered the power of vinyl. We have found a mutual love of jazz and blues and then tracing that through to modern hip-hop. I grew up with classical music and country music (the latter I have since discarded). Upon completion, I called my father, who is the collector of over 16,000 songs and a voracious reader and shocked him with this story about a book that had so much music it came with a playlist. I loved this book, and will be reading Ms. Joyce’s other novel as soon as my TBR allows. Thank you to the First to Read program for awarding me an early copy. Best of luck with the book. I will put recommendations on GoodReads, Instagram and Pinterest (as Amazon doesn’t permit early reviews). I look forward to many other books with this great program.

I am not really into music but found myself listening to each song that was mentioned in this book. Quick read but well worth it!

I love that Frank is resolved in who he is and truly has passion for his music and the shop that sells only records. Ilse is drawn to the shop and forms a relationship with Frank to learn about music. Ilse is not what she seems and really buys into the ambience and character of the shop and the neighborhood. I love the nostalgic and artistic feel of this novel and how all the characters are transformed by the shop. This definitely reminds me of the shop on the corner, but in a fresh way.

I loved this book! It's utterly charming and delightful. It would be a great fit for anyone that loved Joyce's previous book, as well as those that enjoyed A Man Called Ove and The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I made a list of the music mentioned in the book and have started listening to them to see if I can hear the things Frank talks about.

Frank has a special connection to music -- customers come to his shop and, with just a few sentences, he can find them music that speaks to their souls. Ilse has a special connection to Frank -- he's not sure what it is about her, but when she faints on the sidewalk in front of his shop he just knows that he has been changed forever. What starts off as a strange sort of friendship turns into more than either knows what to do with, especially when their respective worlds start to fall apart around them. I was utterly enchanted by Rachel Joyce's The Music Shop and its enchanting neighborhood filled with eclectic characters, intriguing backstories, and two characters who feel they are unworthy of love despite being loved by everyone around them. The Music Shop is sure to whisk readers away with beautifully entertaining descriptions of musical pieces ranging from classical and baroque to 90's pop. And a piece of advice: I highly recommend listening to each piece as it is being described in the story -- it truly brings the emotions to the surface.

The street where Frank Adair’s music shop is located has seen better days. The mortar is falling off the buildings and teens are decorating its stores with graffiti. But some of these shops have been here for many years, including Frank’s music shop, which only deals in vinyl records. He refuses to carry CDs, which makes him quite unpopular with the record suppliers. But Frank’s shop is special. He has a knack for finding just the right song his customers need. He manages to heal broken hearts and marriages and his store is a popular one with the community. Frank has made a nice life for himself until one day a woman faints outside of his shop and sets his world on end. This book is peopled with such unique, quirky characters – Frank’s assistant, Kit, who struggles to control his exuberance; Maud, the tattoo artist, Father Anthony who now runs a religious shop, the Williams Brothers, the funeral directors; and the baker, Mr. Novak. And then there’s Ilse Brauchmann, who is such a mystery, with her gloved hands and her utter lack of knowledge about music. My favorite part of the book was when the author takes a look back at the lessons Frank’s mother gave him about music and the music lessons he in turn gives to Ilse. Frank’s mother taught him to hear the silence between the music notes and to look beyond the music to hear the composer’s heart and soul. Ms. Joyce obviously has a great passion for music and how music can impact a person’s life is the thrust of her newest novel. I do wish the author had wrapped up the story a bit earlier than she did. I felt the book dragged for a while at the end. But all in all, it was a very enjoyable book and brought a lot of smiles to my heart. Recommended.

The Music Shop is a different sort of book, or at least different than I usually read. The characters are interesting and deep and I found myself really caring about them. In some ways, it’s heartbreaking. It moves slowly at first. The first two thirds of the book are sweet and nice, and then the last third or so gets an urgency that left me not wanting to stop reading. It was a very satisfying ending. Overall, very enjoyable!

I loved this book. As a lover of music, the backdrop of the story immediately grabbed my interest, but the uniqueness of the two main characters really held the story together. Frank and Ilse are not the typical characters in a love story, but all their quirks and nuances made their love story all the more real.

This was an enjoyable love story. What set it apart was the backdrop of the music shop. Rachel Joyce leveraged the incredible bond that music creates with the characters in the story but also with the reader. It was a very quick read and I enjoyed every minute. Frank and Iilse were very well written chapters with lots of depth and individuality.

Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce in exchange for an honest review. This being the first book I have read by Rachel Joyce I have to say I really enjoyed it and would like to read other books she has written. The Music Shop is about a man name Frank, who is devoted to selling only vinyl records even though times have changed. His passion for music never waivers and I really enjoyed reading his take on different music and what you would like based off it. Frank has isolated himself from being loved by others after losing those he has loved. That is until Isla Brauchmann walks through his door, but can he allow himself to love her and be loved by her. I enjoyed seeing Frank's determination to keep his vinyl music business going in the worst of times and felt relieved when he was giving in to what he wanted most and sad when he wasn't allowing himself to have it. With all these different emotions that I was going through it made you feel like you were apart of their story.

I have read most of Rachel Joyce's novels and enjoyed them all and this was no exception. This is the story of Frank, who owns a record store, the quirky characters in his life and Ilse Brauchmann, who changes his life forever. The book starts out in 1988, but flashes back to Frank's childhood with his extremely eccentric mother who instilled his love of music. It is a sweet, sometimes sad, but uplifting story about the power of music, friendship and love. If you were a fan of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or Fredrik Backman's books, you will definitely enjoy this book. And music fans will appreciate the references and stories behind the some of the songs in the book.

This charming book is delightfully written. Rachel Joyce clearly loves music as much as her protagonist Frank, because she describes each song down to it's essence. If you stop to think about how your soul feels when you hear certain music, that is what Joyce has managed to explain throughout the book. The Music Shop is a long journey and a slow read. That isn't a good or bad thing, it just is. But throughout the slower pace we get to the heart of the matter, a group of misfits who have banded together on a decrepit street. Joyce has written characters you grow to love quirks and all. Filled with perfect nostalgia and comfort, and a playlist that will take you to every genre of music, The Music Shop is a solid tale of lost and found.

This lovely story reads like a song. Lulls you into its being, scoops you up and tosses you, makes you think & feel, has hills and valleys and movement, and captures your heart. Love how music is integrated into everything. It’s the basis of the story. Love how the main character gives music to others. It’s an easy to read story that while didn’t have me at the edge of my seat was still relaxing and meaningful in unexpected ways. I received a digital copy from first to read and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. First impression as I read the synopsis, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin but with music. Frank owns a music store that only sells vinyl records. He has unique ability to know what song will help the listener, that is, until he meets Ilse Brauchmann aka the mysterious girl in the green pea coat. This is hugely character driven and therefore the plot is very slow. It is beautifully written though. There is also a Spotify for the book so if you missed out on the musical references you can get more of an experience that way. This by no means was a bad book but for me it was just okay. I can relate better to The Storied Life of AJ Fikry more since I do not listen to music and do not get the same emotional experience from music as I do books.

Music. Slice of life. Underdogs. Serendipitous romance. Small shops. England. Is this not the ingredients to indie films? I mean can we just hire Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks for the movie right now? From the very first page I just knew that I had something special. The writing is so gorgeous that I could cry. It has the perfect balance of humor and seriousness. The words flow so seemlessly and the descriptions of emotions and everyday occaurances raged from poeticly tanganle to excitingly relatable. My heart moved, my lips smiled, and I just fully enjoyed my time reading this book. And this extends to the characters. Oh, how I adore the foolish and charming Kit. Admired the memories of Peg. And shared a core of myself with Frank himself, our main character. Each and everyone of them felt so real. Like characters in a sitcom, they have quirks and irks but, time and time again come back together. The combined being of this book, every page, every word, every character, every bit of it has stored itself inside my heart. It has also opened my ears to listening to music in the way Frank expresses it. This book can seriously change your life. And it only misses the five star rating due to the last chapters in which the plot got a little too quirky and jumps 21 years. But don't get me wrong, if this was a movie it'd be the cutest thing and go right up there with sick day films such as Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Additionally, the very end is quite sweet and makes me feel all tucked in and happy. So please do read this book if you want that feel good love story with a slice of life feeling. Thank you Penguin Random House for the e-book arc of this!

So this book was not one that I had high hopes for, but I have to admit that I am so glad that I was able to get a copy of this from Penguin's FirstToRead program. It was a big story, but a small one at the same time. A very specific story of love, unknowingly requited, but also touches on bigger human themes of love, loss, and the quiet, unique inner lives that we all lead. Sometimes lonely, sometimes beautiful. In this story, Frank owns a record shop and while keeping to himself he also manages to transform, support and inspire those around him with the vinyl collection scattered throughout this haphazard little shop in the 1980s. One day, a beautiful, mysterious woman named Ilse happens to faint right outside that shop, and from that day things were never the same for either of them. I loved the overarching theme of music in this story. A good reminder that music can be a common denominator, to connect people, times, and emotions throughout the ages. I see that some people did not like all of the music facts that were interspersed throughout the book, but I feel like it made the transformative effect of music in this story all the more genuine and touching. A beautiful, timeless story about love, the human condition and the ways that we as humans can reach out to each other and save each other from the loneliness we all feel at times. Its very rare that a book touches me as much as this one did, but the author took something that could have been so cliche and banal into something beautiful. Absolutely recommend and will be checking out more from this author without a doubt!

The story in "The Music Shop" is at times, poignant, sad and comic. Frank, the proprietor of the music shop, is afraid to get close to anyone, He prefers to sell only vinyl in a haphazard manner in a run down area. He understands the power of music in a way that is hard to fathom. He recommends what someone needs to listen to at that moment and he references music across centuries and genres. Ilse faints in front of the store and that begins the story of Frank learning to trust and love, despite Ilse's reclusive nature. The love story, such as it is, spans decades as secrets are unveiled, I loved reading the book - it made me think about music in a very different way, The writing was deft and made the story a compelling read. This was a different kind of love story, well worth reading.

THE MUSIC SHOP by Rachel Joyce rocked my world. I simply loved the experience of reading it and the story itself. I have several people in my life that adore vinyl records and a few in my family that hold music very close to their hearts. I was intrigued by the premise of this novel and had heard of the author but not anything about this book yet. I will be telling everyone to check this one out. In this novel, we are introduced to Frank, a record store owner who does not believe that CDs or cassette tapes should take up retail space at the expense of vinyl. He also has a knack for knowing exactly what music a person needs regardless of what they ask for. Unless he's being honest with himself and then he knows that when he meets Ilsa, there is no music that will explain his feelings for her. While I read a lot of quirky female leads, it was refreshing to read a novel with a eccentric male lead that was so relatable and endearing. I loved that I was reading it electronically so I could stop and listen to the songs that Frank talked about, from classical legends like Vivaldi and Chopin to Miles Davis and Aretha Franklin. The story takes place in 1988 when I was still too young to appreciate much of the music offered out there (besides Def Leopard) but Joyce does a remarkable job with the descriptions and narration in this novel. Use your holiday gift cards to pick this one up when it comes out on January 2nd. I received an ARC of this novel from First to Read but all opinions are my own.

This was a cute, quick read, a love story for anyone who likes any kind of music. It reminds me a lot of The Storied Life of AJ Fikrey, with music instead of books. I love that there is a spotify playlist of songs from the book. It was a bit of a fluffy story for me, but I did enjoy it. It was a nice change of pace. It would make a great beach or airplane read.

I loved this book, I did not what to put it down. We have a record store that has been opened it seems forever, but it had a little bit of everything and they are still opened. I started going there in the 80s. So this book reminded me a lot of that time and going to that store. Anyone who loves music will love this book and then to find out you can listen to the music from the book on Spotify is even better...I would highly recommend this book...

I loved walking with Harold Fry, and I cried my eyes out, when I read Queenie Hennessey's take on Harold's pilgrimage, so I was hoping to be equally as moved by Frank, and his Music Shop. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with all of the music mentioned, and I found myself "tuning out" and wanting to skim ahead when reading those parts. I wanted to get back to the quirky characters, and find out more about the mysterious woman in the green pea coat and gloves. who fainted in front of the shop. An audio version that plays snippets of the music, or a book with an accompanying (dare I say it?) CD (LOL) with full length versions of the songs would've enhanced the experience for me. Thank You to First To Read, for providing an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

I adore books with quirky, interesting characters and this one is full of them. They come together as their world and livelihoods begin to crumble around them. They come together for a man who loves and loses, loves and loses and loves again. He's a man whose world is a music shop where he shows his customers music that enriches their lives, music he selects for them especially because he can "hear" what they need. His life goes on this way until he meets a woman who is "silent"; he hears no music. But the woman fascinates him and scares him and sends him on a path to the destruction of his world. But those that love him never give up. The ending made me cry; it's all beauty and hope. Loved it

This book is one of a kind. I was given the opportunity to read an ARC from First to Read in return for an honest review. Music is a big part of our lives and this book proves it. It sometimes provides something we don't even know we need. The characters are real and likeable. Responding to their situations are eventful and hard to forget. I recommend this book to all readers, but especially book clubs. I can envision a discussion with a turntable and vinyl present.

This turned out to be quite an infectious little tale.

A lovable community of shopkeepers in London become transfixed by a foreign visitor, who inadvertently changes all of their lives. Filled with music trivia and passionate characters, this book was an enjoyable read. While I wanted to love this book, it just didn't stick to my ribs the way I expected it to. I felt detached the entire time I was reading, and never felt truly invested in the story. Parts of the plot moved too slowly, and some of the plot jumps made the story feel like a skipping record. Frank was the archetype of the quirky single shop owner stuck in his ways, despite the world changing around him. However, the characters were lovable, flaws and all. In fact, they were the best part of the book. With more character development, I may have been more invested in the book.

This was a really enjoyable read. A sweet love story about music, loss & finding yourself again. It’s probably most enjoyable for people who are super into music, but you don’t have to be a music fanatic to enjoy the meaningful story at the heart of this book. Definitely recommended!

I love a book that comes with a good soundtrack, and in the case of The Music Shop, the soundtrack is exquisite. I cannot recommend enough keeping your phone or computer or some listening decide nearby as you read, and listening to all the music. It makes the experience that much more enchanting. But the truth is, this wonderful story about love and loss and finding, would be wonderful even if you didn’t listen to all the songs. Frank’s unique ability to know what a person needs—he listens to them to discover what it is they are missing, and has the antidote in a song—keeps his little record shop open, with friends and regulars stopping in often just to listen. Frank’s most loyal relationship has been with music, and so it is unexpected when he meets Ilse. He’s not quite sure why it’s so hard to hear what she needs to listen to, but he is happy to spend time with her to find out. Frank’s descriptions of music are beautiful. I wanted to lay on the floor and close my eyes to listen all day. I also wished I had a record player. The other characters, Maud and Kit and Father Anthony, are the perfect people you want to read about. I admit, I got nervous when I hit the third part, but I was crying happy tears by the end. This novel doesn’t come out until January 2, 2018. I was fortunate to be given access to an advance reading copy, so thank you to Random House for the opportunity. I can’t wait to buy a copy for myself and all my friends.


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