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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop

by Rachel Joyce

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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Music Shop is a love story, but it is not your typical Chick-Lit. It is edgier and a lot slower pace. Once I get used to the writing style, the book is very enjoyable. I recommend this book to all fans of music.

I really like the way Joyce describes music, from pop to classical. I learned so much from it. It made me want to listen to Beethoven's moonlight sonata after the lesson. I felt like I was not enjoying its full content. Now I want to listen to all the songs that the book has mentioned.

3.5 out of 5 stars
Received a free eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  JoeYee | Aug 29, 2018 |
A quirky book for holiday reading that was ultimately a bit disappointing. I really loved how it talked about music and the small community feel of the street. And I loved Frank’s devotion to his record store. It was charming at times but the plot line just took too long to get going and I never quite felt that “happy sigh” feeling when a good romance happens. So for me it’s a 3.5 ⭐️ read. ( )
  RealLifeReading | Aug 19, 2018 |
This unique love story takes the reader on a journey through Frank, an English record shop owner's relationships with his mother and friends. Joyce's writing is wonderful with her descriptions that bring the reader into the characters' worlds. ( )
  niquetteb | Jul 17, 2018 |
‘’The silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end.’’

The blurb of this beautiful book contained two words that won me over on the spot. ‘’Music’’ and ‘’1980s’’. I was born in 1985, so technically, I am a child of the 90s, but I think that these two decades share the same spirit of a certain kind of innocence, before the coming of the new millennium and all the ‘’gifts’’ it brought (yeah, right…) I’m not a big fan of the music that conquered the 80s, but when I happen to listen to a chart-hit of the era, I travel back to my childhood and the parties when we were 9-10 years old.

Joyce pays homage to the beauty of the vinyls, the nostalgia that is connected with them, before the shiny CDs took over. Personally, I never liked cassettes, although God knows we had more than we could count. In this story, we find ourselves in London, during the last years of the 80s and in a music shop that sells vinyls exclusively. Frank, the owner, is surrounded by a quirky set of characters who aid him in his struggle to keep the spirit of the neighbourhood alive against modernity. One day, a lovely young woman, wearing a green coat and with her hands hidden in gloves, faints right outside his shop. And his life begins to change.

Now, the blurb may make us think that this is going to be a light, carefree read. Essentially, a romance. It isn’t. Not entirely, at least. And most definitely, it is not a romance. It is a story that contains a heart-warming, tender, well-constructed relationship, but to call it a ‘’’romance’’ wouldn’t do it justice. In my opinion, this is Contemporary Quirky Fiction at its best. (...I just made up a genre in order to justify my silly definition, but anway…) Each character, from Frank to Ilse, to the various customers who have been helped by him, is integral to the story. There are personal stories of sadness and pain, of hope and joy and remembrance, people trying to soothe their wounds and keep the memories alive through music. This is what Frank regards as his mission.

The characters of Frank and Ilse are the best example of how an author can create a romantic relationship that will touch even the sworn enemies of anything romance-related (...that is moi…) Frank is loyal to his job, somewhat a loner in the extreme, and perhaps a bit too empathetic and stuck to the past. A realistic protagonist that you wish you had as your friend back in that day. Ilse is sensitive, bright, kind and with a heavy dose of mystery trailing behind her.Initially, I thought there would have been an element of magical realism in her, that’s how ethereal and mysterious she seemed. Father Anthony (loved him to piece, he is everything a priest is supposed to be), Kit and Maud consist Frank’s ‘’gang’’ and they are as sympathetic and weird as you can get. Maud wasn’t much to my liking, I didn’t have any sympathy for her attitude, but to each their own…I am a bit of a potty-mouth myself, but she seemed to be continually disrespectful

Joyce writes in a manner that is immediate, fresh and lyrical at the same time. She provides a treat for every lover of music. At the mention of every composer, every singer, every band, I could hear the notes partying (or waltzing or praying) in my head. I was reminded of all the extraordinary music creations the human mind has conceived. Even the quality pop-rock of the 1980s and the 90s...So it triggers a major level of nostalgia for an era when a singer didn't have to appear on stage, dressed only in the underwear or in a meat-dress in order to become famous or to make up for the lack of any talent. I give extra points for the reference to ‘’Beata Viscera’’, my favourite hymn to the Virgin Mary. Also bonus points for what I consider the most beautiful piece to come from Iceland, 'Heyr, Himna Smiður'.

For me, the major question of the novel has to do with the strength of our principles. Frank refuses to go with the flow, if it means betraying his ideals and all he is living for.Why should modern times demand of someone to become an altogether different person? Why should we offend what we don’t agree with and look down on those we consider ‘’old school’’? This is very relevant in our current times with politics, religion, society in general. Some of us stick to certain values. If others consider it ‘’Ancient History’’ that’s all very well, but respecting different opinions should be a bidirectional thing. So, as you see, this book definitely gives you plenty to think about.

This is a book that will appeal to practically everyone. The music lovers, the fans of the 80s, the followers of the vinyls, the Londonphiles, the readers who wish for a contemporary read with something to say and themes we can all relate to. I even forgave the somewhat ‘’cheesy’’ ending:)

‘’I heard the things you told me. The birds and the storm and a dog barking. I heard a summer day.Thunder. I heard the wind. People slipping on ice, and then falling asleep by the fire.’’

Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
Rachel Joyce has written a wonderful love story with a backdrop of a music shop in 1980's London. The protagonist and owner of the music shop is Frank whose eccentric mother gave him an education in listening to music. She taught him about composers and how to listen to the pauses in the music. As a result, Frank developed a gift for helping people to heal by listening to a specific piece of music which he chose for them.

When a German lady, Ilse, comes into Frank's life, his humdrum existence is turned upside down. There are mysteries about Ilse and Frank's friends, co-workers, and other business owners are all there for him and encourage him to pursue a relationship. These characters who are all misfits, are likable and help to make the novel such a pleasant experience.

I didn't know much about the plot and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. I had no idea what would happen with Frank and Ilse, nor the fate of the music shop, so it was pleasure to see how it all turned out. There's love, loss, friendship, community fellowship, but most of all I loved everything about the music and its effect on people.

Ms. Joyce has done a fantastic job writing this novel and either did a tremendous amount of music research or applied her extensive knowledge from having a musical background. ( )
1 vote pegmcdaniel | Jun 28, 2018 |
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"A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy"--

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