Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

 

What it’s about:

In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable 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 curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

 

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Review:

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick is a charming tale of self-discovery. It is a hopeful and uplifting book.

Arthur Pepper, widower and retired locksmith, has become a shell of a man. With his wife’s death, he has lost his reason for being. He methodically executes his daily tasks—including caring for a fern that he has named Frederica. Despair over the loss of his wife turns to curiosity when he comes across a hidden charm bracelet. Adventures while exploring the stories behind each charm open Arthur to new and renewed relationships. He turns from a schedule-driven, rigid widower to a man open to new experiences.

Arthur starts as a miserly curmudgeon but quickly becomes an empathetic and highly likable character. I really enjoyed his interactions with his neighbors, Bernadette, Nathan and Terry. Those little conversations highlighted Arthur’s growth through the process of investigating his wife’s pre-martial life. Arthur blossoms with each new person he encounters on his travels. While his attempt to learn about his wife yields plenty, he actually learns more about himself. His view of himself changes with each new encounter. He grows as a person as his capacity to accept and give increases.

Arthur’s inner turmoil over his wife’s “secret” life and what that might mean about their 40 year marriage is understandable. It makes you question how well you know the people in your life. You know them as much as they want to be known according to this book. Most of Arthur’s discoveries provide more intrigue surrounding his late wife, Miriam, but one discovery breaks Arthur’s heart and makes him question everything about his marriage. Ultimately, like Ethan Allen Hawley’s epiphany in Steinbeck’s Winter of Our Discontent, Arthur chooses to take chances, be adventurous and live life to its fullest.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a heartwarming exploration of love, family and making connections. Carpe Diem.

The audiobook is delightfully narrated by  James Langton.

 

About the author: Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organizer and communications manager. She is a prize-winning short story writer and now writes full time. She lives in the UK with her husband and son. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is her debut novel.

 

 

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