I don’t usually read fiction described as ‘uplifting’ or ‘heartwarming’. However, these words describe The Music Shop, a book which I took a chance on (as is often the way with books from charity shops) and was glad I did.
Set mainly in 1988 in a street of struggling independent shops, the story focuses on the music-obsessed Frank and his record store. He’s a little stuck in his ways, refusing to stock formats other than vinyl and not letting himself fall in love. But then he meets a mysterious woman, Ilse, who wants him to teach her about listening to music. That’s when his life begins to change.
The book is romantic, charming, humorous at times but also rather sad. The characters are well-crafted and individual. I didn’t get much of a sense of place (I’m still not sure where it’s supposed to be set, other than in a town in England) but I liked the descriptions of the record store. Music is at the core of the novel and is woven into every aspect of the plot. I’m guessing that Frank’s taste in music is similar to the author’s, such is the detail and passion put into the exploration of particular songs.
I liked the writing style, which was warm and easy to read. There wasn’t really anything to dislike about the book. I wouldn’t read it again but I’m sure to remember the story and characters. I’d recommend it if you love music and are in the mood for understated romance and a little nostalgia.
First published in 2017.