The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick, is just the most gorgeous novel.
I read it at a time when I really wasn’t happy and when I most profoundly needed an emotional lift. It tells the story of Arthur Pepper a sixty-nine year old man, living in York, England. A widower for nearly a year, Arthur decides to clear out his wife’s belongings and in so doing discovers a mysterious charm bracelet. Treating each charm as a clue to a part of his wife’s past that he didn’t know, Arthur begins to unravel the story of the woman he knew and loved the best.
There are so many different ways to read this book. At its simplest it is the story of one man’s journey of self discovery, but it also touches on what it means to love someone for a lifetime and perhaps more importantly, how we all love differently and how unrealistic it is to expect to see anything or anyone completely. Finally and perhaps most importantly, Patrick teaches us that love is not just about knowing someone, but also about trust and hope.
Perhaps this was just the perfect novel at the perfect time, but just in case, please, please, please do not leave the bookshop without this novel in your hand!