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The Music Shop: A Novel Audiobook, by Rachel Joyce Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Rachel Joyce Narrator: Steven Hartley Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2018 ISBN: 9780525626213
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A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennes

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 Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Narrator Steven Hartley’s raspy, unrefined, British accent is a natural fit for characters who are rough around the edges. His narration underscores the psychological states of the ragtag group—which range from contemplative to anxious to angry. The story and the narration complement each other and remind us that music can bring people together and allow them to heal. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “An unforgettable story of music, loss, and hope…[a] quirky love story. Vinyl fans, hold on to your turntables—Joyce’s latest is a buoyant homage to the healing power of music well played.”


  • “An unabashedly sentimental tribute to the healing power of great songs, and Joyce is hip to greatness in any key.”

    Washington Post

  • “Warmhearted, unusual and romantic, Rachel Joyce evokes the emotional power of your favorite record while underlining the importance of that forever-threatened little shop down a side street where music happens…Joyce’s gift is in using simple language to convey profound observations on human nature.”

    Times (London)

  • Joyce’s charm and good-heartedness remain undiminished, as does her ability to create a highly appealing, semi-magical world . . . and to make us root for her characters all the way. Daily Telegraph
  • [A] beautiful ode to music, community and love. Sun
  • Joyce sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse. From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming. Kirkus Reviews
  • In [Joyce’s] hands, ordinary lives are given dignity and triumph. She is a champion of humanity, and The Music Shop is no exception. It is a joyous love song that pulses with hope and benevolence and laughter. Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Sunday Times (London) Best Book of the Year

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About the Author

Rachel Joyce is the author of the international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, and Perfect. She is also the award-winning writer of more than twenty plays for BBC Radio 4. She started writing after a twenty-year acting career, in which she performed leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and won multiple awards.

About the Narrator

Steven Hartley is a voice talent and Earphones Award–winning narrator.