The Music Shop

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

Music has been such a huge part of my life so this book was such a fun read for me. Definitely a must read.
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I have tried to read this book on three separate occasions and I think I'm finally calling it quits. On the surface this should be a book that I love. It is almost like the music shop version of A.J. Fikry, which is one of my all-time favorites. I'm about 30% into the book and I think I'm realizing that I'm not enjoying all of the jumping around in the timeline. It's detracting from the community found in the "present" portion of the story, which is thereby detracting from my connection to the story at all. Not a book for me, but I can see how others might enjoy it.
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Where Ms. Joyce really shines is in her literary ability to bring music to life — all forms of music.   The solace and joy of music. Why we listen and why we need music in our lives.  But most importantly — how music can change a life and perhaps even save one.

This has a simple plot, but with a great deal of heart. The Music Shop is a book you’ll read with a smile. This is the type of book I love reading and I suspect you will too.
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Heartwarming and a bit quirky.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Beautifully woven love story with musically driven references that is accentuated best with a Spotify playlist...a recipe for the soul!
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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.
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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. 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.
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I really wanted to like this one, but found that it just didn't capture my attention. I finished it, but by the end, I was really just skimming through it so that I could say I'd read it.
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Heartwarming read,  I grew up with vinyl records at home and still have a collection at home.  Music and it’s healing powers.  Great book and recommend. 
Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
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I'm not sure what genre this book fits into, or how I would describe it to someone. But I know it's an interesting read, and that's not nothing.
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This was a sweet book. Fans of Joyce will not be disappointed in her new quirky characters. I especially liked the setting, both time and place. The 80's was a changing time for music.
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Full disclosure- I am going to turn 59 in a few months. That said, I was raised on vinyl records and continue to love the sound and everything about them. I also have wonderful memories of hours browsing through the stacks of albums in music stores. Thus, I couldn't pass up the chance to read this book. It was a step back in time for me to a memorable place.
This author has such a skill at creating characters that are unique and interesting. You can't help but care about these people, but they are one of a kind. She moves as well from one emotion to another with the challenges, failures, and successes of her characters. Much like her previous title, "The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy", she makes heroes out of underdogs and the ordinary people. If like me, you love to cheer on society's losers, you should not miss this book.
Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.
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A heartwarming story. I had to stop as I was reading to listen to all the songs. Another great story by Rachel Joyce.
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It's 1980-something, and Frank is struggling to keep his beloved record shop open. He loves music and has a knack for knowing exactly the right tune a person needs to hear the moment he meets them, but unfortunately his quirky talent isn't paying the bills. Located on a dead-end street with other shops that are just as derelict as his own, Frank's store is losing money, month after month, due to fewer customers and, lately, increased crime. It doesn't help that Frank absolutely refuses to sell CDs, which he considers a passing fad, and will only stock vinyl records...that nobody seems to want.

Frank is young---mid-thirties at most---but he's very isolated. Still grieving the death of his mother from many years earlier, he prefers to keep his distance and avoid the pain of close relationships. Well, that's the plan, anyway, until a beautiful stranger in a green coat randomly passes out in front of his shop one day. It takes Frank some time to figure out her story, but after meeting Ilse, Frank is changed. He's still scared to pursue a relationship with this new person, but he also can't seem to quite shake his feelings of, well, love. As Frank tries to understand and cope with this unfamiliar situation, he must also figure out a way to keep his shop open and out of the clutches of a big shot developer who can't wait to raze his store to the ground.

 *   *   *   *   *  

I had high hopes for this book, but it ended up being just okay. I love the quirkiness of Frank and some of the other characters, but, unfortunately, their endearing eccentricities couldn't distract me from the slow pace of the story and the odd, manufactured drama between Frank and Ilse. The book had such a great start but then took forever to go somewhere already. I also didn't think the flashbacks to Frank's time with his unconventional mother, Peg, were that interesting either.

Truthfully, I think author Rachel Joyce got so caught up in making a "story about music!" that she forgot to make a good story. I felt a connection to Frank, but Peg and Ilse, the two main women in his life, fell completely flat and never seemed like real people to me. So ultimately, The Music Shop has a fun premise but a boring and underdeveloped story. I'd skip it.

(I would, however, listen to Aretha Franklin's album Spirit In the Dark because that shit is bomb.)
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In theory The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce should have been a complete love match for me. I wanted to fall in love.  I was ready, totally prepared. I thrive on quirky and when I think I’ve found it, that awkward little gem, I get unreasonably excited.  I carve out a block of time I won’t be interrupted, get appropriate comfort food, comfortable favorite cozy clothes, put out the DND sign, and get ready for a total immersion literary experience. You know what I’m talking about. It’s a book lovers nirvana. Perhaps this was the problem, I built it up too much. The book is good, quite good, it’s just not a match for me.  3.5 *’s rounded up

Frank runs a music shop that is committed completely to vinyl records. He’s the music whisperer, matching just the right piece of music to each person. The location is used beautifully as a character in its own right. We have a cast of supporting characters who are quirky, and finally the love interest Ilsa. It took me a while to articulate what didn’t quite work for me. It’s leading the reader to conclusions that can makes things flat. There’s no discovery. As the book progresses we see a romance develop, Frank stand up to progress in the face of a failing business, all with the backdrop of amazing musical references. The music geek in me really appreciated this. For me it was too much, a lack of nuance, that didn’t allow me to really dive in.  I think the book also suffers from comparison to Joyce’s other books which are absolutely exceptional. I’m a fan, and highly recommend this author. This simply isn’t my favorite book of hers. 

I received an advanced reader copy (eGalley) from Random House through NetGalley. This review reflects my honest and unbiased opinions.
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A very long slow story about an old fashioned music shop that refused to modernize. The characters are likeable but the plot is mundane. It may be for some people but not for me. Thank you NetGalley for the arc.
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This book is, at times, brilliant, and at other times, quite dull.   The neighborhood setting is quite convivial, and you sense how other characters root for Frank, the main character, who refuses to sell anything in his shop other than vinyl records, despite the changing times and technologies.  A mysterious German woman faints outside of Frank's shop, and despite some awkward beginnings, becomes a pleasant part of his life.  While circumstances separate them, Ilse later searches for Frank, and they are reunited in a heartwarming scene.  That storyline feels a little bit like a Hallmark movie, but the other chapters, the ones written in Italics, are absolutely inspired.  These are conversations Frank and his mother had before her death.  The way she talks about music is unlike anything I've ever heard.  I want to read more of that!
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We who love to share books know all about “Read-Alikes” – lists of book suggestions for those who want ideas on what to read next, based on a title they adored. Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and others, has created the music shop equivalent to a read-alike list. Set in 1988 on down-at-its-heels Unity Street somewhere in England, Frank runs his store using the idea of what I might call “listen-alikes.” The records are organized, if you can call it that, to encourage serendipitous musical discovery – “If you like Genesis, trust me. You’ll love Mendelssohn.” Frank also uses music to help people, a kind of music therapy. When a customer with a broken heart comes in looking for Chopin, Frank convinces him to try Aretha Franklin’s Oh No Not My Baby. It’s exactly what he needed to hear. Life is pretty good for Frank – he lives above his shop and doesn’t make much money, but he is doing what he loves – sharing music, irritating salespeople by refusing to stock CDs, and with his fellow shopkeepers fighting against the deterioration of Unity Street. Until Ilse Brauchmann arrives, and upends his world. She’s German, she’s engaged, and, she tells the shocked Frank, she doesn’t listen to music. While technically, I suppose, this is a romance, it’s really about loss and grief, the importance of community, and about finding courage. I’ve come to anticipate Joyce’s great writing, and she doesn’t disappoint: “Music is about silence… the silence at the beginning of a piece of music is always different from the silence at the end… Because if you listen, the world changes.” And the music – oh, the music. Joyce includes an afterword thanking all those who helped with her research into music for this novel, inspiring Frank’s unlikely pairings (Puccini’s Tosca with Led Zep’s Stairway to Heaven!). Give yourself extra time to read this novel, because you’ll be pausing to play the music and really listen. Helpfully, there’s a Spotify playlist of all the music. A sweet novel that hits just the right notes as it celebrates music, independent business, and love against the odds, spanning decades from Frank’s early memories through to today’s world of iPhones and flash mobs. My thanks to Random House for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley.
More discussion and reviews of this novel:
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If you’re like me, you don’t like fluffy fic. And if you’re like me, you also prefer your romance fiction to be on the edgier, darker, angstier side.

Well you’re in luck. These books are anything but sweet and schmoopie, and I guarantee they’ll appeal to the anti-sappy reader in you.

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro: In this tale of a thorny affair, Quatro has figured out how to combine mesh erotic love with the spiritual. Maggie, a writer, mother, and wife who finds herself yearning for a grand passion and a better understanding of God, begins a passionate extramarital relationship with James, a poet who has many of the same unsettling questions. Maggie will find herself on the edge of desire, betrayal and faith as she tangles between her feelings for James and her deep devotion for her family. Grove Atlantic

The Long Deception by Mary McCluskey:Are our memories of youth accurate? Or do we only remember the good and filter out the bad? In McCluskey’s story, Alison Eastlake is caught between her past and present when her childhood friend Sophie commits suicide. Obligated to go back home to face the many questions that arise, Alison must also confront the attraction she still feels for Sophie’s brother Matt, which pushes her closer towards a reckless affair. Little A/Amazon Publishing

The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed: Trying her best to stay sober while putting her life back together after a painful divorce, June returns to the place where she grew up, hoping that this connection with her childhood will help heal her wounds. When she meets Jameson, a man that is perhaps as broken as she is, June must decide if she dares risk her heart one more time. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Dreaming in Chocolate by Susan Bishop Crispell: Don’t let the smores-by-the-campfire title fool you. Bishop Crispell’s heroine Penelope Dalton hasn’t had it easy. Although running a lovely hot chocolate cafe in the company of her mother is close to idyllic, Penelope is afraid she won’t be able to give her daughter won’t she wants the most: her biological father who is in town for only a few days, and as it happens, has no idea he has a daughter. St. Martin’s Griffin

Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch: A charmed marriage is interrupted by ambition and fame in this Hollywood-set novel. Ben Livingston and Tatum Connelly meet unexpectedly while struggling with their careers as a screenwriter and actor. Years of a happy marriage lead to resentment and distance when Tatum’s star rises while Ben’s slowly slumps, making their relationship teeter on the edge of separation and remembering what brought them together all those years ago. Lake Union Publishing

My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari: Desai’s novel will surely make you ponder the question: what would I do? Simi Desai’s life is upended when her husband is diagnosed with cancer. At only thirty Simi feels she’s losing the most important thing in her life, but is in for a shock when her husband tells her he has two last wishes in his final months: first, that she’ll have his baby so that a piece of him lives on, and second, that she’ll reconcile with her old flame, who just happens to be their mutual best friend. Over the course of their last summer together, Simi’s husband is determined to prove to Simi that it’s okay to move on without him, and even find love again. Graydon House

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce: The year is 1988, and on a run-down suburb in London there is a small music shop with records of every variety imaginable. Frank, the shop’s owner, knows exactly what music customers need as soon as they come into his store. But one day, Ilse Brauchmann enters his store and his life, and eventually asks Frank to teach her about music. Scared of any kind of connection, Frank doesn’t know whether to run or take a real risk, while Ilse is not really who she says she is. Will music bond them together, or fuel their fears instead? Random House

Say My Name by Allegra Huston: Eve has always settled for the safest option, afraid to experience the unknown. She’s married safely, has an ordinary life. But in the wake of a betrayal, she finds herself wanting more. When she one day goes antique hunting for a friend, she finds a rare instrument, carved with twining vines. This sets her on a journey, and into the path of a much younger man who happens to be the son of an old love. Eve is astounded when she finds herself deeply attracted to him, and is even more surprised when he pursues her with bold determination. But can a connection between two very different people last? And can she ever go back to she used to be? Will she even want to? Harlequin
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#TheMusicShop by Rachel Joyce picks up on a formula often used in books. A shopkeeper with a special ability to find just the right thing for their customer slowly, in solving the concerns of other, manages to find their own path forward. Overall, the stories are feel good reads. The biggest "if" of the stories is the reader's ability to believe. Unfortunately for me, I never quite buy into the characters or this story. 

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for #NetGalley
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