November 7th 2017
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I loved Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, as devastating, heartbreaking as it was and while I haven’t read any of her other books something about The Music Shop tempted me into picking it up. And fortunately I was given an advance copy shortly after hearing about it at the Penguin Random House Fall Preview.
Set in the 1980s, the book focuses on Frank the owner of a music shop who stubbornly refuses to get with the times and stock CDs (choosing instead to continue to own deal with vinyls). Among the cast of characters are his assistant and his fellow neighbours who own various shops/businesses along the same old street and neighbourhood that has seen better days. I loved that this novel was inspired by the author’s real life meeting with a music shop whose owner was able to find the musical “cure” for her husband’s insomnia. This magical quality of being able to “know” what music a person needs to hear which is an ability that her protagonist, Frank also shares.
If I were honest The Music Shop started off a bit slow for me as I didn’t care about any of the characters. However, before long I found that I had been unknowingly drawn deep within the world and characters of the book. This may have been a result of the beautiful, whimsical prose. Or perhaps it was the fact that over time we get enough glimpses into the past of each of the characters helping us to understand why they are the way they are in addition to why people care about Frank a great deal.
While some may say that The Music Shop is an overly sentimental read, I loved that I was left with a warm feeling when I was finished with the book. It is a definite must read for music lovers and for people who are looking for an uplifting read that is within the along the same veins as The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin or even Katarina Blvald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend as it’s also about the power of the arts, and how when ordinary people get together and work together they can make the extraordinary happen whether it’s just for one person or for far more people than they could have ever anticipated.
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.