Apr 4, 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Title: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Author: Phaedra Patrick
Genre: Adult, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
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.
I received an advance uncorrected proof of this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. This does not affect my review in any way.

When I started reading this book I wasn't very sure that I'd like it. It isn't a young adult book, for one thing. I also thought that it could leave me feeling sad, and while I think books that are able to leave an emotional impact are very important, I'm not really at a point where I enjoy reading books that are downers. Luckily, I was proven wrong.

I usually read books all in one go or in only a few sittings. This week was busy for me, though, so I read the first half chapter by chapter, I really liked reading it that way, and even after my midterms were over I would only read a few chapters before I went to sleep. I wanted to prolong the experience of reading to it, and I definitely think that it helped me to enjoy it more.

Even though it's a novel, at points the feeling it gave off reminded me of a children's book, and not in a bad way. In particular, this book felt very much like a bedtime story to me. It had enough suspense to keep me reading but not enough that I couldn't put the book down or that it was too emotionally tiring. Overall the atmosphere in the book was very homey and calming, which I enjoyed immensely. Mood-wise I've had a pretty bad week, and this was a comforting book to read before I went to bed each night. Throughout the entire story there was a feeling of hopefulness, no matter how upsetting things got, and it's what made the story really special.

Apart from the vibe of the book, the thing that I liked the most was how Patrick characterized Arthur. I feel like we have a tendency to infantilize the elderly, but Arthur felt like a whole human, and his experiences and his past weren't overlooked to create the image of a cute old man. This didn't apply solely to Arthur, either. Each character that Patrick introduced had their own histories that clearly shaped them as people, and I was interested in everyone she introduced, no matter how big of a part they had to play in the story.

I really loved this book, mainly due to its atmosphere. It's being released on May 3rd, and I'd definitely suggest that you find yourself a copy.

My rating: 5/5 badly drawn books

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