This book was one of the most adorable, endearing and beautiful stories I have ever read. The references to Up were absolutely perfect because that’s exactly the effect it has. It’s not out until 7th April from MIRA so put the date in your diary!
“When Arthur Pepper discovers a mysterious charm bracelet in his late wife’s wardrobe, he sets off on a journey to discover, charm by charm, her secret life before they met.
Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before.
What follows is a surprising adventure that takes Arthur from London to Paris and India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met, a journey that leads him to find healing, self-discovery, and love in the most unexpected of places.”
I fell in love with Arthur Pepper. The stories behind each charm of his wife’s bracelet was a new adventure and journey for both him and for us, I loved each miniature tale behind each link. It’s a story we can all sympathise with, one which pulls on your heartstrings. At some point we’ve all lost someone dear to us, we have a grandparent who died when were young before finding out a wealth of incredible stories from their own youth you can’t quite match to the memory you have. This is the crux of Arthur’s story as he learns about his wife’s past and can’t quite connect this woman to the one he spent his life with. I love how this woman is dead at the beginning of the book, but is her own character, come to life through each passage of the story. His loneliness at the beginning begins to feel even worse as he grows even more distant from the one person he shared everything with, but knowing her more can only make him love her more and his adventure only brings him new joy of his own, one she will never know.
This book felt old but not in an archaic way, in a nostalgic way. Phaedra Patrick is a storyteller and this story is a traditional, heart-warming adventure which brings a tear to your eye. It feels like a fairytale but set in reality, it makes us think about those old widowers we see, reluctant to go out and slightly bitter with grief, shut away from the world (yes, it really does work if you think of the old man in Up). This is a beautiful tale about a man discovering not only the life of the woman he loved, but also re-discovering his own life, his own need for adventure and re-discovering friendship.
This book was so refreshing to read, both new and old all at once. We seem so wrapped up with the freshest stories, the biggest twists, yet this story of an old man’s journey to find out the past of a few momentous charms is warm and adventurous, bringing speciality to the most quiet and ordinary of characters and voices. It’s something any age will enjoy, from the magic of the Indian elephant to the relatable grief of this sweet and slightly grumpy old man.
Like The Miniaturist, its a special, magical and beautiful book which can be enjoyed and treasured and I imagine it’s going to be a huge hit. A sweet story full of heart which will whisk you away on Arthur Pepper’s charming adventure.