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The Music Shop

by Rachel Joyce

Book Club Recommendations Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Music Shop

A heartrending love story. An ode to vinyl. A poignant evocation of a community of shopkeepers in the late eighties. Like the music beloved by its protagonist, this pitch-perfect novel has an ineffable power to uplift the soul.

At the heart of the story - and of run-down Unity Street - is Frank, steadfastly selling vinyl (no cassettes, and definitely no CDs) from his decaying shop: “With vinyl, you couldn’t just sit there like a lemon. You had to GET UP OFF YOUR ARSE and TAKE PART”. The polar opposite of Black Books’s Bernard Black, Frank is one of life’s altruists. He “knew what people needed even when they didn't know it themselves”. But, while his music recommendations transform and heal the loves of countless customers, Frank has neglected to partake in his own life. That is, until a well-dressed woman wearing a distinctive pea-green coat faints outside his shop. Ilse Brauchmann radiates movie-star magnetism, and Frank immediately falls for her, as does pretty much everyone on Unity Street. Ilse sets Frank’s heart-a-pounding, and his nerves-a-tingling, but his past pains (particularly his relationship with his music-obsessed mother) have left him emotionally impotent, and he’s at risk of losing his once-in-a-blue-moon chance to truly take part in life.

The groove of this gloriously life-affirming novel gets under the skin and lingers long after the final sentence has been savoured. It’s a newly-heard riff you can’t get out of your head, and the favourite album you’ll return to in times of need. I loved it. 

Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Joanne Owen

The Music Shop Synopsis

From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a new novel about learning how to listen and how to feel; and about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all...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 ...

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The Music Shop Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Celia Cohen - 'A must read book for everybody even if you are not a music lover - you will be by the end of the book. What a wonderful book.'
  • Catherine Larner - 'The healing power of music, the strength of community, a belief in second chances, and characters as vivid and touching as Harold Fry. A wonderful book!'
  • Helen Appleby - 'an easy and delightful read and the perfect thing to read on a sunny afternoon in the garden, I read it in about two days as once I was hooked I couldn't put it down.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'The last time I laughed out loud at the very best in irony, heart-lifting, identifiable and down-right brilliant writing was Joyce’s previous writing.  Brilliant author...Full of wonderful characters, brought to life through such joyful writing, this is a quite wonderful read.'
  • Sharon Wood - 'A heart-warming tale of music and relationships.  Another beautifully satisfying read from one of my favourite authors.  Thoroughly recommended.'
  • Val Rowe - 'A gem of a novel that will remain imprinted in my mind for some time to come.'
  • Sharon McKinlay - 'A very enjoyable & moving story about Frank who runs a record store. Interesting mix of characters that all added to the enjoyment of the story.'
  • Alfred Nobile - 'I found this a beautiful, refreshing and simple read with a deep message.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'Feeling sad, lost, scared, and unsure? I know what you need, you need to come with me, to The Music Shop.  An unsuspecting little shop but in that shop you will find Frank and Frank is the one to help you.'
  • Ruth - 'The Music Shop is a beautiful story so much more than just a love story between people, it’s a love story of music.'
  • Victoria Goldman - 'The Music Shop is a heartwarming character-driven novel with rhythmic writing, descriptive prose and gentle humour. It's a quirky and nostalgic book about change, with a love story at its heart.'
  • Jane Brown - 'Beautiful and nostalgic although for some reviewers this appears like it was yesterday lovely romance.'
  • Alexandra Harper-Williams - 'One of the most magical and inspiring books I have read in a while - truly beautiful.'
  • Victoria Emerson - 'Another delightful, heart-warming tale from Rachel Joyce.'
  • Kathryn Eastman - 'In her latest novel, Rachel Joyce’s writing is pitch perfect and every bit as healing as the tracks that Frank selects as prescribed listening for his customers in The Music Shop.'
  • Kathryn Whitfield - 'Fantastic!! I beautiful story about love, friendship and music.    I adored this story it was fantastic.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I loved every page of this book, it's filled with great music titles and loveable quirky characters and a lovely nostalgic love of vinyl . Read this immediately folks , you won't be disappointed.'

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780857521927
Publication date: 13/07/2017
Publisher: Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780857521927
Publication date: 13th July 2017
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Hardback
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Collections: 80+ Books That Deliver a Hug , 40+ Novels That Feature Friendship,

About Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her work has been translated into thirty-six languages. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014. Rachel has also written over ...

More About Rachel Joyce

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