This challenge was issued by the bloggers at Hot Listens and The Caffeinated Reviewer.  I became aware of it on Carla Loves to Read, who posted that she was participating. Recently, I finished The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. This author also wrote The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a book I loved so much I recommended it to our Third Tuesday book club.

The Music Shop is set in 1988 London, and it was fun comparing the culture and situations to “my” 1988, here across the pond.  One thing is for sure, human nature and the complexities in relationships are universal and timeless!

Frank, the shop’s owner, a burly, bearded, bear of a man, has a “gift” for “prescribing” (my term) just the right piece/selection of music someone needs; sometimes not what the customer thinks he wants. Because Frank has lost his first wife, he is terrified of real closeness/connectedness. When Elsa Brachman, a mysterious, attractive woman, with a German accent, enters his shop and promptly faints, neither recognizes the attraction they have for each other for what it is. These quirky characters’ relationship grows through the novel, as each makes bad choices and acts based on assumptions and miscommunications.

The small shop which carries only vinyls in a CD society “attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift” which make up the cast of characters in this warm, often humorous, always “touching” story.  The narrator is spot-on and conveys each character vividly to the reader. One feels the “healing power of music” as the sometimes familiar-to-the-listener pieces of music are mentioned, as Frank matches them to customers. The listener indeed feels “healed” by the epilogue at the end. There is only one word which would describe the ending of this audiobook–joyful!