The Music Shop | Penguin Random House Canada

The Music Shop

Publisher: Bond Street Books
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 FryPerfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

It's 1988. The CD has arrived. Sales of the shiny new disks are soaring on high streets in cities across the England. Meanwhile, down a dead-end street, Frank's music shop stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. It attracts the lonely, the sleepless, the adrift. There is room for everyone. Frank has a gift for finding his customers the music they need.
     Into this shop arrives Ilse Brauchmann--practical, brave, well-heeled. Frank falls for this curious woman who always dresses in green. But Ilse's reasons for visiting the shop are not what they seem.
     Frank's passion for Ilse seems as misguided as his determination to save vinyl. How can a man so in tune with other people's needs be so incapable of helping himself? And what will it take to show he loves her?
     The Music Shop is a story about good, ordinary people who take on forces too big for them. It's about falling in love and how hard it can be. And it's about music--how it can bring us together when we are divided and save us when all seems lost.


The Man Who Only Liked Chopin
Frank sat smoking behind his turntable, same as always, watching the window. Mid-afternoon, and it was almost dark out there. The day had hardly been a day at all. A drop in temperature had brought the beginnings of a frost and Unity Street glittered beneath the street...
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"A shrewd observer of the forces that both nurture and destroy, Rachel Joyce is also very funny. . . . To borrow Frank's own vernacular, anyone not 'in floods' (tears) during Joyce's epic musical closer is scarcely worth bothering about." —Toronto Star

"The Music Shop is an unabashedly sentimental tribute to the healing power of great songs, and Joyce is hip to greatness in any key. . . . [The novel] captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance—'a ballooning of happiness.' Joyce's understated humor . . . offers something like the pleasure of A. A. Milne for adults. She has a kind of sweetness that's never saccharine, a kind of simplicity that's never simplistic. . . . I wouldn't change a single note. Rachel Joyce, if music be the food of love, write on!" —The Washington Post 

"This could equally be a description of Joyce's prose: here is a love story that's as much about the silences between words as what is said—the spaces between people that can be filled with mystery, confusion and misunderstanding as well as hope." —The Observer

"Charming and deceptively simple. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page." —The Boston Globe

"Joyce . . . sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse. From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming." —Kirkus Reviews

"Her specialty is writing with empathy on the quirkier aspects of life. . . . [The Music Shop] has the feel of a summer hit: warm-hearted, unusual and romantic, with a sense of hope pervading all manner of misfortunes. . . . Joyce's gift is in using simple language to convey profound observations on human nature." —The Times

"A delightfully tuneful story about the power of love. . . . [Joyce's] lyrical prose, her deft style and playful spirit . . . make The Music Shop an uplifting read." —Winnipeg Free Press

"It is the madcap ensemble cast that brings the book to wacky, poignant life. Like Anne Tyler, Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. . . . [The Music Shop] is a touching, sometimes funny book about surviving change, the power of music and the importance of having a community—wacky or not. As with all of Joyce's books, it will surprise you." —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"The Music Shop is a joyous, poignant, utterly human love song to community found in unlikely places, and a tribute to the healing power of music." —Shelf Awareness, starred review

"An uplifting read, full of humour and authentic characters." —Press Association

"Both charms and stings and, best of all, will send you in search of music you've never heard before." —Metro (UK)

"A tender novel about heartache and redemption, full of humour and perceptive observations." —Daily Express

"Breezily written, heart-warming and unashamedly sentimental. . . . A modern fairy tale." —Mail on Sunday

"Rachel Joyce hits all the right notes with her love letter to vinyl. . . . This is the most beautiful ode to music, community and love, that overflows with charm and warmth." —The Sun (UK)

"[Joyce] writes with unquestionable charm and with her considerable heart never far from her sleeve. . . . Joyce's charm and good-heartedness remain undiminished, as does her ability to create a highly appealing, semi-magical world . . . and to make us root for her characters all the way." —The Daily Telegraph

"Rachel Joyce deploys all her trademark charm . . . on a journey of redemption, of confronting the demons from the past and of healing." —Stylist

"[Joyce] has a winner in this deceptively simple love story. . . . The magical trajectory of Frank and Ilse's relationship is nicely balanced against the thread about a threatening real estate company that wants to destroy Frank's tiny store. Joyce's odes to music—from Aretha Franklin and J.S. Bach to Puccini and the Sex Pistols—and the notion that the perfect song can transform one's life make this novel a triumph." —Publishers Weekly 

"Whether on foot, as in her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or track by track, on this unlikely musical odyssey, Joyce excels in enveloping readers in epic journeys of lost connections and loving reunions." Booklist

"A beautiful novel, a tonic for the soul and a complete joy to read." —Joanna Canon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

"Rachel Joyce tells wonderful stories. In her hands, ordinary lives are given dignity and triumph. She is a champion of humanity, and The Music Shop is no exception. It is a joyous love song that pulses with hope and benevolence and laughter." —Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit and The Tin Man

"The Music Shop is wonderful—a tender and moving love story which captures brilliantly the healing, redemptive power of music and its ability to console, empower and reassure. I adored it." —Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us

"Nobody writes with quite that mixture of clear eyed humanity and downright authorial mischief that Rachel Joyce brings to The Music Shop." —Patrick Gale, author of A Perfectly Good Man and A Place Called Winter

"The Music Shop tells us that our drum beats may well be different, but we can still dance to a harmonious and funky rhythm. Rachel Joyce is a genius with words and full of soul. This is another uplifting and utterly heart-enlarging novel." —Bel Mooney, Daily Mail columnist and author of The Invasion of Sand and Big Dog Bonnie

"Such a touching and gently didactic story—melts your heart." —Veronica Henry, author of A Night on the Orient Express and the Honeycote trilogy

"What joy. A big-hearted, beguiling story full of charm, gentleness and humour and peopled with glorious characters. A love song to beauty on the margins, friendship and the intrinsic power of music." —Keggie Carew, author of DADLAND