Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
Mira: 5/3/16
eBook review copy; 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9780778319337

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick is a very highly recommended pleasant, yet engaging,  feel-good novel.

Arthur Pepper's wife Miriam died a year ago and the 69 year old widower is missing her desperately and clinging to the routines he has made for himself. When he decides that it is time to go through her things and donate them to a charity to help cats, he discovers a gold charm bracelet hidden in a boot. Arthur can't remember seeing the bracelet before and is intrigued by the eight charms on the bracelet and what they must have represented to his late wife.

On the chain are an elephant, tiger, book, painter's palette, ring, flower, thimble and a heart. Quite by chance, Arthur discovers a phone number on the elephant charm and ends up talking to a man in India. Miriam was a nanny for his family for several months. Once he uncovers this mystery, Arthur sets off to discover what the rest of the charms meant to Miriam. Arthur has a series of surprising encounters as he searches for the meaning behind the charms. Along the way Arthur discovers more about his wife's life before they were married and even more about himself.

This is a strong, pleasing debut novel, well written and reminiscent of Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, only a bit less serious. Fans of Harold Fry will love Arthur Pepper. Patrick keeps the tone light and the story is, well, charming. Arthur is grieving for Miriam and the pain he is going through is clearly depicted, but Patrick sees him through it, to a path of recovery, even as he discovers the meaning of each charm. This is a story of an ordinary man, but also a novel of love, hope, and healing.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Mira for review purposes.

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