-Phaedra Patrick understands the soul. Eccentric, charming, and wise...The Curious Charms is not just for those who are mourning over love or the past. This book will illuminate your heart.- -- Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop Don't miss this curiously charming debut In this hauntingly beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery, an endearing widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.Read more...
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More About The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra PatrickOverview
-Phaedra Patrick understands the soul. Eccentric, charming, and wise...The Curious Charms is not just for those who are mourning over love or the past. This book will illuminate your heart.- -- Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris BookshopDon't miss this curiously charming debut In this hauntingly beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery, an endearing widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as 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 hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.More Praise: -Tender, insightful, and surprising... Arthur Pepper] will instantly capture the hearts of readers who loved Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop, and Antoine Laurain's The Red Notebook.- -- Library Journal, starred review
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Patrick’s debut novel evokes whimsy and poignancy. Since Miriam, his wife of 40 years, died a year ago, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper stopped living; he merely exists, until he finds a gold charm bracelet he’d never seen before tucked inside one of her shoes. The first of the bracelet’s eight charms is a bejeweled elephant inscribed with a phone number. He calls it and is shocked to learn that Miriam once lived in India. He sets about exploring the other charms—including a tiger, a locket, and a thimble—which take him from Yorkshire to a manor house in Bath long past its glory days, and further afield, to London and Paris. While unraveling Miriam’s past, Arthur realizes that his outward journey is also a journey within, and in a comically heartwarming fashion he attempts to embrace the unknown while slowly discovering his positive impact on others. This is a sweet story with an almost magical, but never saccharine denouement, as a newly whole Arthur Pepper emerges. Agent: Clare Wallace, Darley Anderson Agency. (May)BookPage Reviews
An old-fashioned man in the modern age
How well can you know a person, even a person you’ve loved and lived with for decades? This is the question posed by Phaedra Patrick’s gentle, funny and wistful first novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.
The curious charms mentioned in the title are not attributes of Arthur Pepper, a rather ordinary pensioner from Yorkshire. They are actual charms found on a bracelet that belonged to his late wife, Miriam. Arthur’s investigations show them to be mementos of specific times, people and places in her life. It seems that the outwardly contented wife and mother that Arthur knew was a very different person before they met and married.
As Arthur uncovers Miriam’s past, the charms of Arthur himself become more evident. Amazingly old-fashioned, he seems not to have come of age in the 1960s but the 1950s or earlier; this made the reviewer think, ‘Come on, this chap is younger than Mick Jagger.’ But this is part of the book’s sweetness.
A virgin when he married, Arthur has never been with another woman; even chastely kissing an old friend of Miriam’s makes him feel vaguely adulterous. He dutifully waters his fern, whom he has named Frederica. He treats even the weirdest people he meets on his quest with kindness and frets that his stodginess squashed something adventurous in his wife. Arthur’s charms, in this charmless age, are curious indeed.
Charming, too, is Patrick’s straightforward and unadorned style. Because of this, when Arthur’s grief overwhelms him like the tiger who almost eats him at one point—you have to read the book—it pierces the heart. You root for him every step of the way.