Sunday, June 26, 2016

Book Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

This was a delightful debut novel. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a story of a quest. On the quest, the main character grieves, changes, and grows. The reader gets to walk alongside on the journey. It had a similar feel to the novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (a big favorite of mine). While I still liked the Harold Fry novel better, this one delivered an interesting story full of self-discovery, hope, and redemption.

Arthur Pepper decides that the time has come to send his deceased wife's belongings to the charity shop. She has been gone for a year and he sets out to tackle the daunting task. Before he gets very far in his efforts, however, he comes across an unlikely piece of jewelry, a gold bracelet with eight little charms. His wife had always had simple tastes and Arthur doesn't remember ever seeing the bracelet before. When he discovers a phone number etched into the elephant charm, he places a call and begins a lengthy journey to sort out the past life his wife led prior to meeting him. His routines are disrupted, his identity questioned, and his life enriched by probing into the past.

I loved the cover, with its striking blue and small images representing India, Paris, and London. I liked the main character and enjoyed watching his growth. I appreciated the layered depth of the other characters, as well, as every individual Arthur encountered bore a unique story. The plot followed an easy pace and kept me turning pages. I would happily pick up another novel by Phaedra Patrick and hope she continues to write.

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