Contemporary Fiction

The Music Shop

by Rachel Joyce

Quick take

A harmonious (get it?) love story between an gifted music shop owner and an enigmatic customer.

Good to know

  • Happy

  • 80s

Why I love it

What is it about music'”whether it’s the soaring majesty of a Beethoven symphony or James Brown’s just-gotta-dance funk'”that touches the human heart so deeply? How can artfully-arranged notes cheer you up when you’re down, remind you we’re all connected, or break your heart? (And why, since there aren’t that many notes to choose from, hasn’t every possible song already been written? I’ve always ...


It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Bra...

Member thoughts

42% Love
48% Like
9% Dislike
  • Joan H.

    Chicago, IL

    "I love music, so this was a fast read, and such a great story!"

  • Helen W.

    Portland, OR

    "What a delightful charming book full of quirky characters all revolving around a music shop. Don't miss the Playlist at the of the book."

  • Jessica D.

    Visalia, CA

    "Such a quirky cast of characters. Loved all the music references. Enjoyed listening to the playlist on spotify. I actually shed a few tears at the end."

  • Michele R.

    Las Vegas, NV

    "I loved the quirky awkward characters, probably because I relate so well to them. Frank and Ilse each have pasts that they need to overcome and they are able to do that through the power of music."

  • Annie M.

    Minneapolis, MN

    "Charming. Surprisingly thoughtful. Just so perfect. Made me want to listed to every song Frank describes. At the end, is a link to a Spotify playlist-- I suggest checking it out as you read."

  • Elise A.

    St. Louis, MO

    "Great story with a cast of endearing characters. Very satisfying. "

  • Abbey G.

    Chicago, IL

    "If you loved The Little Paris Bookshop, you will find equal delight in this novel. Wrapped around a decades-long love story, it shows us how music has the ability to unite and show us our best selves."

  • Troy B.

    Hagerstown, MD

    "What a great feel good story about friendships. I'm so glad I chose this. "

  • Sandra K.

    Franklin, WI

    "With vivid descriptions, quirky characters, and musical insight, Joyce ties us to Frank and Ilse in ways that make us want to both hug and throttle them. The music rises, falls, swells... we all win."

  • MaryAnn C.

    Burnt Hills , NY

    "Excellent read for any one who loves music!"

  • Penny M.

    Lusby, MD