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A story about the triumph of a quiet hero. And how music can bring us back to life. The exquisite and perfectly-pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry:

' A beautiful novel, a tonic for the soul and a complete joy to read.' Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.

1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.

Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.

Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind ...

'Hits all the right notes...a love story that’s as much about the silences between words as what is said – the spaces between people that can be filled with mystery, confusion and misunderstanding as well as hope." Observer



Rachel Joyce tells wonderful stories. In her 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 and Tin Man

Her speciality is writing with empathy on the quirkier aspects of life...[The Music Shop] has the feel of a summer hit: warm-hearted, unusual and romantic, with a sense of hope pervading all manner of misfortunes... Joyce's gift is in using simple language to convey profound observations on human nature.

Will Hodgkinson, The Times

The Music Shop is wonderful - a tender and moving love story which captures brilliantly the healing, redemptive power of music and its ability to console, empower and reassure. I adored it.

Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us

Rachel Joyce hits all the right notes with her love letter to vinyl… This is the most beautiful ode to music, community and love, that overflows with charm and warmth.

Jane Craddock, The Sun

[Joyce] writes with unquestionable charm and and with her considerable heart never far from her sleeve. 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.

James Walton, The Daily Telegraph

Rachel Joyce deploys all her trademark charm… on a journey of redemption, of confronting the demons from the past and of healing.


A beautiful novel, a tonic for the soul and a complete joy to read.

Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

I love any novel by Rachel Joyce, whose The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a huge success. Now she has created another Pied Piper of the heart in Frank, the proprietor of the music shop. Frank's individually chosen records can heal the soul - and this bewitching love story sings out the unique beauty of every human being, leaving you uplifted.

Bel Mooney

Nobody writes with quite that mixture of clear eyed humanity and downright authorial mischief that Rachel Joyce brings to The Music Shop

Patrick Gale, twitter

The Music Shop tells us that our drum beats may well be different, but we can still dance to a harmonious and funky rhythm. Rachel Joyce is a genius with words and full of soul. This is another uplifting and utterly heart-enlarging novel.

Bel Mooney

Frank in The Music Shop has taken my love of vinyl to a much higher level. He introduced me to music I've never heard before and has given me a new way of listening to all music. Rachel paints her odd ball bunch of characters with a delicate deftness of touch. You cannot help but love them all.

Johnnie Walker, MBE

BEST SUMMER READS: I loved this moving story about the healing power of music.


A tender, funny compelling and hugely resonant story

Radio Times

Such a touching and gently didactic story - melts your heart.

Veronica Henry, twitter

A happy book

Jane Garvey, BBC Radio4 Woman's Hour

What joy. A big-hearted, beguiling story full of charm, gentleness and humour and peopled with glorious characters. A love song to beauty on the margins, friendship, and the intrinsic power of music.

Keggie Carew, author of DADLAND

I especially adored the music bits; fascinating snippets about everyone from Liszt to Led Zep.

Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

An uplifting read, full of humour and authentic characters.

Press Association

This nostalgia hit will lift your spirits.

Closer Magazine

Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit.


I loved Rachel Joyce's The Music Shop.

Lenny Henry, Radio Times

A tender novel about heartache and redemption, full of humour and perceptive observations,

Daily Express

Delicately observed... this one both charms and stings... A romance about a lonely muso [and] a love letter to the power of vinyl.


Book of the day

The Independent

A sensitive, sweetly melancholic story of music, connection and community

S Magazine

BOOK OF THE WEEK: An uplifting read…full of humour and authentic characters

Midweek Extra

Breezily written, heart-warming and unashamedly sentimental… [a] modern fairy tale

Mail on Sunday

Rachel Joyce returns to some of the themes in her bestselling debut The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: loss, the past and the bonds that can be forged with strangers. This time the pilgrimage is through music.

Press Association

A quirky, romantic fairy tale perfect for summer.

You Magazine

The Music Shop is a one gulp, super-satisfying read. Love it, love it, love it.

Sir Lenny Henry

My Christmas pick: I love any novel by Rachel Joyce, whose The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a huge success. Now she has created another Pied Piper of the heart in Frank, the proprietor of The Music Shop...This bewitching love story sings out the unique beauty of every human being, leaving you uplifted.

Bel Mooney, Daily Mail

Joyce, a British actress and playwright, whose first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was longlisted for the Man Booker, continues to enchant and break hearts with her lovable misfits trying to survive in a modern world determined to pass them by. Irresistible.

Beth Anderson, Library Journal

An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story. Vinyl fans, hold onto your turntables - Joyce's latest is a buoyant homage to the healing power of music well-played.

PEOPLE magazine

‘The Music Shop’ is an unabashedly sentimental tribute to the healing power of great songs, and Joyce is hip to greatness in any key…. [The novel] captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance — ‘a ballooning of happiness.’ Joyce’s understated humor…offers something like the pleasure of A.A. Milne for adults. She has a kind of sweetness that’s never saccharine, a kind of simplicity that’s never simplistic…. I wouldn’t change a single note. Rachel Joyce, if music be the food of love, write on!

The Washington Post

Rachel Joyce’s charming and deceptively simple fourth novel chronicles an offbeat love story between a mystery woman and an ardent, if lonely, collector and gently explores the power of memory and music and the certainty of change…. love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo…. This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.

The Boston Globe

Magnificent…. Joyce’s novel is intellectually and emotionally satisfying on every possible level. If you love words, if you love music, if you love, this is 2018’s first must-read, and it will be without question one of the year’s best.

Top Pick in Fiction, January 2018, BookPage

Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick…. This is a touching, sometimes funny book about surviving change, the power of music and the importance of having a community — wacky or not. As with all of Joyce’s books, it will surprise you.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Joyce…continues to enchant and break hearts with her lovable misfits trying to survive in a modern world determined to pass them by. Irresistible.

Library Journal

Magical…. [Rachel] Joyce has a winner in this deceptively simple love story…. Joyce’s odes to music…and the notion that the perfect song can transform one’s life make this novel a triumph.

Publishers Weekly

Whether on foot, as in her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or track by track, on this unlikely musical odyssey, Joyce excels in enveloping readers in epic journeys of lost connections and loving reunions.


[Rachel] 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

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    April 2, 2018

    Black Swan

    368 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 13, 2017

    Transworld Digital

    368 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

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