The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce


Dear Fellow Reader,

Do you belong to a book club? I had belonged to one many years ago but it broke up and I didn’t do much about it. I was busy and didn’t miss it. When we moved two years ago, I decided that a book club would be a good place to go and meet other people. I also liked that I would have to read books that might be different from what I would choose. I think that is the best/worst part. I have read several books that were meaningful and I never would have picked them on my own. While I have not tried a virtual book club, that might be an option for you if you don’t know of any by you. At least you can see what they are reading and expand your TBR (to be read) pile. (For a list of online book clubs, you can google “virtual book clubs”. Here is an article with a list of 6 clubs that you can check out.  The article is from 2017 but I checked and the clubs listed still seem to be operating.)

Last month’s library book club book is The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. Rachel Joyce also wrote The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which was a best seller, and four other books. I had read Harold Fry several years ago. (I thought I would have reviewed but I don’t see it on the list.)

The Music Shop is a love story set to music. It tells the story of Frank and Ilse. Frank was brought up by a rich but unconventional mother. She has left an imprint on his life that he has not been able to overcome. Frank has a particular talent. He can listen to the internal beat of a person and tell them exactly what song they need. It will often not be what they want but it will be exactly what they need. Frank owns a record store in a rundown neighborhood in London. The year is 1988 and Frank will only sell vinyl records. Not cassette tapes and no CDs. He has his own filing system of records in the store which means that he is the only one who can find things. His assistant, Kit, is well-meaning and rather incompetent. Father Anthony owns the religious goods store down the block and Maud owns the tattoo shop. Together they form a family of choice with some others in the neighborhood.

Then one day Ilsa in her green coat faints in front of the store. Frank goes out to help her and their hesitant love story starts.

Overall, I liked the book. This book, more than any other book I have read, has a musical score. Elsa hires Frank to teach her about music and he does so in his own way by giving her songs that one would not think go together but in his mind and then hers, they do. I wish the book came with a playlist. I should have stopped to play the music that went with the discussion but I didn’t. I did think the book was a bit slow in the middle but that might have been me. My suggestion is that when you read this book that you sit with a computer nearby so you can listen to the music while reading the description.

Thanks for reading!


About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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