Review: The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce


I have a confession to make. One of my very, very few regrets in life is that I gave my records (“vinyl” now) to Goodwill ten years ago. I kick myself almost daily. A few, like my mono Beatles album and a Stan Kenton, are worth a good chunk of change these days. There is simply nothing like the sound of a real record (sorry, “vinyl” just doesn’t trip off my tongue well yet).

Diagnostic musicologist–or should that be vinylologist?


The Story

Meet Frank–he loves records. In the 1980s when cd-s were taking over from the wave of disappointment that was, first, 8-tracks, and then cassette tapes, Frank was a lone wolf in the save vinyl movement. Like a reader’s advisory librarian, Frank could listen to a customer and “hook” him up with a string of albums that told similar stories–but across musical “genres.” From Chopin to, say, Aretha Franklin, to Queen, to Johnny Cash–or at least something like that journey. Frank knows music thanks to his quirky mother, Peg. I had a little of this sort of teaching myself so I fell in love with this book right off. It also made me start remembering and listening online to some of my favorites–maybe someday I’ll post my own playlist.

Enter a mysterious young woman who hires Frank to “teach” her music in this way. Add in a charming group of folks working on the same nearly dead street as Frank’s record store and you have a marvelous ensemble cast to flesh out Frank’s story.

I loved this book from start to finish. Frank’s character is such a real and authentic voice of a music lover–a record (vinyl) lover. He hears the music in his very soul. The publisher has given us a gift of a great playlist from the book that you can access here: The Music Shop Playlist. You can also listen to some of author Rachel Joyce’s own favorite healing music.

I dearly hope Bill Nighy is cast as Frank and maybe Lily James as the mysterious stranger (no spoilers) and possibly Julie Walters as Maude.  I previously enjoyed the author’s book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.



My Verdict



The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce



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