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The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

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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.

331 pages, Hardcover

First published January 29, 2016

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About the author

Phaedra Patrick

12 books2,537 followers
Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full time in Saddleworth where she lives with her family.

Her debut novel, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, was translated into over twenty languages worldwide and has been optioned by a major Hollywood film studio.

Her second novel, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone (named Wishes Under the Willow Tree in the UK), has been made into a Hallmark Movie and will premiere on TV in Autumn 2021.

Her third novel is The Library of Lost and Found, and the fourth one is titled The Secrets of Love Story Bridge (The Secrets of Sunshine in the UK).

You can find out more about Phaedra and her books at www.phaedra-patrick.com including writing tips

Please follow her on:

Twitter @phaedrapatrick
Instagram @PhaedraPatrick

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,427 reviews
Profile Image for Phaedra Patrick.
Author 12 books2,537 followers
December 26, 2017
I loved writing this and I hope you love reading it too. It's a lot about real life, and I'm influenced by fables too. Remember when you used to sit on your parents' knees for story time. You never questioned which bits were true or not. You just enjoyed them. So, thats what I did for Arthur - I wrote his story straight from the heart and gave him a poignant, fun and adventurous journey. Happy reading!

If you enjoy this book, you'll probably like my second book Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone (known as Wishes Under the Willow Tree in the UK), too x
Profile Image for Linda.
76 reviews176 followers
August 31, 2016
I love small books--happy books--easy-to-read, relaxing books. "The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper" was all of these things. Actually, it was like going on a vacation with good friends and coming home well-rested and contented.

This is the book that you choose, when you get stuck in the same genre or nothing strikes you as interesting. It's for everyone at any time. It's a little treasure that was a joy to experience!

It may be Phaedra Patrick's first novel, but I'm hoping it won't be her last.
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,030 reviews17.7k followers
September 25, 2023
We never stop growing.

There are so many various and multifarious sides to the world, we have to eventually abandon our inwardness.

Arthur Pepper has stuck with an inward-looking life, and lingered there too long with his longtime soulmate. It is a life of settled habit and, unfortunately, myopia.

He cannot see the outside world, stuck with his better half in front of the telly with their Friday fried fish.

When she dies, he tries to stick to his old habits. But the outside world proves much too jarringly interesting.

This is a story of finding life after a long soul-death.

With me, elderly as Arthur, it has been different - and how. No more planning the day’s routine, most of the time. Expect the unexpected!

Such is the warm nature of my better half. You know, I rather like that. It’s like the world outside, except with love added.

Unfortunately, I once reverted to a mildly autistic state in early childhood, after the more (usually better-handled) brutal shocks of growing up.

Inwardness became the substance of my life.

So when I met my forever wife in 1977, it was an awakening. A wonderfully unpredictable lady, she keeps me alert.

But any downtime I have managed to get is an excuse to replenish my batteries within, through music and books. And traces of my solipsism remain.

So if anything (heaven forbid) should change our lives, I’d be more at sea than Arthur.

At least our unpredictable life helps me to face nonfictional everyday reality better than I could without it, as with Arthur.

The bottom line is, my self-hypnotic fog is slowly lifting. Reality’s not such a tall order as it was in my young adulthood. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. And life is tough.

But I have MY better half to thank for getting me on the road that leads me out of my solipsistic dark wood. No one else has helped me so much in that regard.

And Arthur’s story was nice to read - for isn’t it funny how we see OURSELVES more clearly through other people’s stories?

It’s not perfect. His story doesn’t really GRAB you inside.

But it was meant to be only a very amusing reflection on so many old folks’ fixed habits, and how they can radically change them and find a vaster freedom.

Freedom to finally be THEMSELVES in a much larger world.
Profile Image for Steph.
4,680 reviews51 followers
February 7, 2017
My 60-year-old dad died very suddenly of a brain aneurysm almost two months ago. I've lost one of my best friends and my very favorite book buddy. We would read the same books and go meet authors together; our latest book obsession was Fredrick Backman's stories. We even went to meet him a few months ago. My dad got a good selfie with him, as he often did with authors. :)

I bought The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper for my dad for Christmas because I had heard that it was a lot like A Man called Ove (which he was actually in the middle of reading again when he died.) I haven't been able to bring myself to truly pick up a book and read since I lost my dad but I thought maybe listening to the audiobook of the last book I ever bought him might be worth a try.

I'm so glad this book found me at this time in my life. A story of grief and hope; a journey after the loss of someone you don't know quite how to do life without. Beautiful story, and now that I've read it I know that it's time to pick up a book and start reading again.

Let's do this, 2017.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews623 followers
February 15, 2018

Many modern charms each have inspirational meaning. Charm jewelry make lovely gifts with added meeting to cherish. Author Phaedra Patrick gave us her gift with this charming- inspirational- book - literally and figuratively!

A charming story .....
.....about a charming man named Arthur
.....about a ‘charm bracelet’ ( I HAD NO IDEA - I had not read the reviews), that Arthur finds which belonged to his deceased wife Miriam.
.....about the journey Author takes — new discoveries about Miriam, his adult son and daughter, new people he meets, and himself.
.....about love

Arthur discovers strength...which is kinda ‘charming’.

Do you know what I’ve been reading lately?

I HAVE ONE HOUR LEFT TO FINISH LISTENING TO “Only Child” by Rhiannon Navin....
- An *AUDIOBOOK* that ‘does’ requires TISSUES!......I don’t want it to end - yet I’m dying to know how it will end at the same time. ( so I’m taking a break from it for a few hours) ....ITS A STORY ALL ABOUT THIS AMAZING KID *ZACK*! He can come to my house....I’d take care of him anytime!!!

So........Taking an adventure with Arthur and meeting his new friends was lightly charming!!!! Great preventative medicine! lol

Profile Image for Mo.
1,628 reviews163 followers
June 5, 2023
This novel was a stinker… and there was nothing “charming” about it.

When I first started reading it I was worried that it would be a clone of “A Man Called Ove”. Well, that was one thing I didn’t have to worry about. Arthur was no Ove… and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Arthur was a world class ditherer, worrywart and second-guesser. He was an insecure little man who felt threatened at the thought that his wife might actually have had a life before she met him. I found him to be completely annoying.

Everything about this story felt forced and contrived. It was riddled with implausible circumstances, convenient coincidences and unbelievable occurrences. I rolled my eyes throughout a good portion of the book. It was all so clichéd.

A member of my book club nailed this early on in the book… she said it was nothing more than “juvenile writing” and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. Even the story’s interesting premise couldn’t save it. I was so disappointed because I was really looking forward to reading this and expected to thoroughly enjoy it.

As The Man in Black would say...


Read with SBC book club August 2016.

UPDATE: Very curious... I looked at this review on my phone on June 5, 2023, and it showed a different picture from the one that I posted here, one that I have never seen before. When I looked at this review on my laptop, it showed the correct picture of "The Man in Black".
Profile Image for Joe Krakovsky.
Author 5 books204 followers
August 17, 2022
In my opinion, this was a cute little story that kept my interest, even though I would have passed this book by had not my book club chose it. The cover is quite cutsie, and that is the first thing I notice when book hunting. The second thing that catches my eye would be the title, depending on how the book is sitting on the shelf as I peruse the selections. In both cases I would not have given it more than a passing glance. But at least the author can't be accused of false advertising or bait and switch! Truth be told, rarely do I even consider who wrote it.

The story is simple enough, about an old guy who finds a charm bracelet one year after his wife's passing, and begins to wonder about the significance of it, being as it was hidden. So he goes on a quest to find out about it and discovers his wife's 'secret' past. While on his quest, he discovers not only that his wife was not at all the 'little woman' he sort of took for granted, but also experiences a self-realization of himself. All kinds of problems popped up to hinder him, but solutions followed not far behind. In the end there is a typical 'happily ever after' as one would half expect in such a tale. Does this make the story childish, or not worthy of us smarty-pants' taking the time to read it. I say, By all means, no!" As my friend Alex pointed out to me, you can always learn something from a book if you open your eyes and look.

Now please don't ask me how ancient I am when I tell you that I could relate in some ways to the main character in the story. We both grew to feel comfortable as we settled down in life with our mates. Sure enough, some things became a routine, but you know what? We found we liked it that way. We both had our little adventures, even if it was only going out to a new eatery. If we were really bold, we might even venture to a bed & breakfast. Neither Arthur nor I made the big bucks (or went into debt) to have the big wedding, or go out of the country on vacation. But what we did, we enjoyed, being with the one person who really gave our lives meaning. It scares me to think of what my life would be like if I really became like Arthur. What if I could no longer have her to wake up to, or sit across the table from, or to know that I could no longer touch her hand, taste her lips or smell her hair when I kissed her. Yes, I would be a wreck like Arthur, and it would probably take me a year to get rid of her stuff, as if I expected her to be coming back.

In one way Arthur and I were different. I married my high school sweetheart. I have spent my entire adult life with her. In Arthur's case, I think he wondered if someone who was 'wild' was truly happy with someone who was 'boring' as him. In his case he was lucky. She didn't want that 'wild' life. It was dealt her. In the end she found what made her happy. And I think she knew what she wanted all along.

Yes, it was a silly little book, but I sure am, glad I read it!
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,083 reviews1,412 followers
February 13, 2017
How could a charm bracelet stir up so many emotions and curiosity?

After Arthur's wife passed away and he was cleaning out her things, his discovery of a hidden charm bracelet had him curious about what each charm meant. He also wanted to know ​why he never saw Miriam wearing it and why she had it hidden ​in the toe of a boot.

This charm bracelet pulled him out of his hermit slump and onto adventures he never dreamed of as he traced where each charm came from and what their meaning was to Miriam. He had a few surprises.

Every adventure made him wonder what his wife's life was like before she met him. He couldn't stop searching for the meaning of each charm. These adventures also made him feel guilty he never took Miriam anywhere.

Arthur's finds and discussions with the people he met left him happier and more confident. He also was helping those he met come to grips with what they were dealing with.

Arthur was an ​absolutely endearing, charming, sweet character for me. I really enjoyed his antics and his thinking​ and especially the adventures he took us on.​ We traveled the globe with him. I wanted to know the answers about the charms too and loved sharing Arthur's days.

THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER is an adorable, enchanting, uplifting read. Be prepared to fall in love with Arthur Pepper.

​THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER has a very clever, enjoyable story line that gives you a nice cozy feeling. It felt like a big hug that you didn't want to end.

Give yourself a marvelous treat, and don't miss reading THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER.

There aren't enough delightful words to describe this book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,331 reviews2,145 followers
November 10, 2021
A sweet, comfortable story about Arthur Pepper, 69 , whose wife Miriam died just one year ago. He decides it is time to clear out all her things and discovers, tucked away, a charm bracelet he believes he has never see before. When you have been married to someone for forty years you believe you must know everything about them. When Arthur starts to research the bracelet he finds that is not always so.

The continuing story hangs on a lot of coincidences which made it rather unbelievable and even when things went a little wrong there was always that feel good atmosphere which lets you know all will be well in the end. The characters were very entertaining though and it was good to watch Arthur grow and change when he let himself come out of his self imposed shell.

Of course there were happy endings all round and I closed the book with a smile. A nice, light, enjoyable read.

Profile Image for Susan.
1,062 reviews200 followers
May 3, 2016
This is one of the most delightful and heart warming novel that I have read in a long time. I think it would be impossible to put this book down and not be in a happy mood and a little in love with Arthur Pepper. It reminds me of "Britt-Marie Was Here" or really any of Fredrik Backman's works. It is about a semi-elderly person who comes to a crossroads in their life and must decide how to live their remaining time.

On the first anniversary of Miriam's, his beloved wife of 40 years, death, Arthur decides to pack up her belongings. He has been living a very regimented life in the past year. He does the same things at the same time and rarely leaves his house. He has little contact with his two children and has been miserable. As he packs, he discovers a charm bracelet in one of Miriam's boots. He has never seen it before and it raises major questions. What was Miriam's life like before she met him?

Using the charms on the bracelet as a map, he retraces her steps and makes amazing discoveries, not only about her, but himself. He goes places and does things he could not even imagine before this. He has a run ins with an elephant, some tigers and an adorable dog. As the changes happen he maintains his steadfast devotion to his wife and it is so lovely.

If you are in the mood for a delightful book that makes you feel good, this is the book for you. Fall in love with Arthur Pepper. I know I did.
Profile Image for B.A. Paris.
Author 17 books18k followers
October 7, 2015
I love this story of Arthur Pepper! He’s so wonderfully endearing that you can’t help fall in love with him as he travels around the country trying to solve the mystery behind the charm bracelet. Beautifully written, funny and moving, this is one of those books that you will always remember.
Profile Image for Noeleen.
188 reviews141 followers
March 29, 2016
My thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

This endearing story starts on the first anniversary of the death of Miriam Pepper, Arthur’s wife. Aged sixty-nine, married for forty years and still mourning the death of his beloved Miriam, Arthur discovers a mysterious charm bracelet when he finally has the courage to go through Miriam’s belongings. The discovery of the bracelet sets Arthur, not only on a quest to find the meanings behind each charm and a part of Miriam’s life that he was unaware, but also on his own voyage of self-discovery.

This is a very well written novel and the characters are wonderful. I found the story captivating and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to experience Arthur's journey with him, a journey which brought him to the most unlikely situations with an assortment of equally fascinating characters and places. While Arthur himself is just adoring, his search for answers to the charms and his quest for purpose in own his life is helped by many other delightful characters in the book, his estranged children, Lucy and Dan, his neighbours, Bernadette, Nathan and Terry. I loved all of these characters in their own right, (still laughing thinking of Terry’s lawn, it must be the best mowed lawn in the UK!)

This moving story is like a warm fuzzy hug that just wraps itself around you from the first page. It was enchanting, charming and humorous. At times, it jogged memories of the past for me personally or made me ponder and reflect on my own life experiences. At times it was emotional without being overly dramatic. It is a quirky story full of hope, with the message that life is for living and new experiences. It is a gem of a book that I really loved, an excellent debut. I hope this book is a huge hit in 2016, I loved it a lot.
Profile Image for Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine).
189 reviews230 followers
May 1, 2016
To read more of my reviews, please visit Lit. Wit. Wine & Dine.

Arthur Pepper misses his wife. It has been a year since she passed away. Miriam and Arthur were married for forty happy, peaceful, uneventful years. It's not until Arthur steels himself to the task of sorting her things that he discovers a charm bracelet he'd never seen before. A telephone call to a number on one of the charms prompts Arthur to begin a journey in search of the truth of his wife's past prior to their meeting. Along the way he meets some interesting characters, forges some unlikely friendships, and slowly discovers that it is possible to be happy, or at the very least, content again.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper has a lot going for it. Arthur is a very likable guy. If fact, most of the characters are of an equally likable, upbeat sort. The story is pretty relatable in its essence. We've probably all learned things about a spouse or lover at one time or another that made us question how well we really knew that person. Arthur's adventures help him to reconcile three versions of his wife; the wife he thought he knew, the (post-finding-the-bracelet-wife) he then questioned if he ever knew at all, and finally, the "true" Miriam.

Unfortunately, there was something I found lacking that I've not been able to put my finger on after having reflected for a few days. I can only describe it as an inability to be excited or completely engaged. Perhaps it was a bit too predictable. Maybe it was the implausibility of some of Arthur's adventures. While I appreciate why so many readers are giving such glowing reviews, I find myself unable to do likewise. There was nothing overtly wrong with the book. It just left me feeling a little flat.

3/5 stars

Thanks to MIRA via NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,108 reviews749 followers
May 8, 2017
This is a charming feel good sort of novel about a sixty-nine year old English widower who after a year of isolation from the world and being closed up inside his home has decided to go through his deceased wife's clothes in preparation for donating them to charity. In doing so he comes across a charm bracelet that he doesn't recall having seen before. There is a name and telephone number with it that he decides to check into. From this contact he learns about additional information that leads to still other contacts. Ultimately he ends up traveling to various destinations in the manner of a sleuth trying to piece together enticing clues about his wife involving her life prior to their marriage.

Through his adventures he ends up meeting many interesting people and experiencing exciting adventures—including almost being eaten by a tiger. This prompts him to begin to appreciate life in a new way. He also learns to appreciate the years of marriage to his wife with a greater depth of understanding. The story ends on a happy note with him looking forward to what life still has to offer.

Upon reflection after completion of the book it occurs to me that one interpretation of the story is that the ghost of his wife felt sorry for him after noticing what a sad life he was leading. Consequently she decided to plant some clues for him to find that would lead him on a scavenger hunt for historical evidence about her younger years. Her motive in this fairytale interpretation of the story would have been to help him break out of the shell he had formed to socially isolate himself from others. The reader who has completed the book will have learned that she was a nice person and the type who would do such a thing. At the end I can image her spirit being pleased that her conniving had managed to make her husband happy in spite of himself.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,343 reviews439 followers
January 30, 2018
This was ok.
I was hoping for more Harold Fry and less Pandora's Box. I usually find great comfort and enjoyment with British domestic fiction and had expected the same from this but was disappointed.

The premise is delightful: Arthur Pepper's wife, Miriam, died a year ago and he's been grieving ever since. When a friendly neighbor convinces him to stop stagnating, Arthur decides it's time to clean out his wife's closet and in doing so, he finds a gold charm bracelet he doesn't remember seeing before. It's far fancier than what she would have worn, what with her frugality and lack of vanity. He sort of accidentally sets off to find out where the charms on the bracelet came from and in doing so, he discovers two things:
1) His wife had an amazing life before she met him, one she never told him about and
2) He can have an amazing life, too.

That sound pretty great, right? Mysterious bracelet with stories surrounding the charms, self-discovery, life after the death of a loved one, there was a lot here to pull me in.
When I turned 10, my mother gave me her charm bracelet and I lost it in middle school, during a gym class. I'd left it in the pocket of my velour/corduroy, cream and white paisley print pullover and when I put my clothes back on, the bracelet was gone, never to be seen again, which is terrible because all the charms on that bracelet had stories behind them. I always wonder what became of it so the idea of following Arthur as he discovered his wife's bracelet's mysteries was quite appealing. Also of interest is what old widowers do when they decide to stop sitting around, grieving. This is of particular importance to me because we're still trying to find ways to get our dad re-involved with life and we're failing horribly. I had hoped to get some ideas from this but that didn't pan out.

I may have had my hopes set too high going into this.

Unfortunately, this was not as enchanting or enlightening as I had hoped and the end left me with a sour aftertaste.

There were several elements that rubbed me the wrong way - the daughter's fantasy about getting married and having children and not being fulfilled until that happens, a flashback to Miriam telling Arthur she didn't want a birthday present so he didn't get her one and then she was mad and lectured him on how he should have gotten her a present to prove that he loved her and, after that flashback, Arthur uses that remembered lesson to understand that what a woman says isn't necessarily what she means. This is all BS and can we start getting rid of this kind of thinking? Please? Or at least frame it in a less flattering light?

All in all, I didn't enjoy Arthur's journey as much as I'd hoped to, I didn't find any clues on how to help my own dad get back into living, I wasn't as delighted with the charm's stories as I'd expected to be, and the resolution to the whole story rubbed me the wrong way.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,433 reviews203 followers
August 29, 2023
On the first anniversary of Arthur’s wife, Miriam’s death, he discovers a charm bracelet of hers with a phone number. He decides to call it, and discovers something about his wife he never thought possible.

He was married to her for 40 years. How is one to feel when learning a secret he never knew about her?

This charm bracelet leads him on a journey away from a life he has always known to something out of his comfort zone.

Arthur is a seemingly ordinary person, who now must come to terms about the revelations about his wife and her past.

Will he be able to process it?

Will he make peace with it?

Will he be able to come to terms with his loss of Miriam and embrace the people that are still in his life?

This is a story of self-discovery.

This is the story of a journey - and the many interesting characters met along this journey.

The characters are well-drawn, likable and charming – especially Arthur.

The book moves at a good pace. And it is a feel-good story.

This is a wonderful debut novel.
Profile Image for Britany.
992 reviews434 followers
July 1, 2018
Arthur Pepper is struggling with his wife's death, learning how to live alone when he discovers a charm bracelet in an old boot. He realizes it was a part of his wife's life that he never knew about. He sets out to discover where the charms came from and more about his wife's past.

I enjoyed this journey, but struggled to really love it. Maybe it's because I've read too many of these types of books. Old man is lonely and finds out stuff about his life or the life of the dead spouse. I found some of the interactions meaningful, but mostly I had a hard time connecting. Most of the stories about Miriam were surface level at best. I didn't learn enough about the character's motivations, and this leaves me to fall right down the middle on this book.
Profile Image for Maria.
171 reviews106 followers
September 17, 2022
Cute and heartwarming.

Major Amelie's dad vibes.

Good reminder that it's never too late to start living ones life.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,449 reviews35 followers
January 27, 2016
I’m predicting this will be one of my favorite novels of 2016.

Exactly a year after the death of his beloved wife, Miariam, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is cleaning out Miriam's closet when he finds an expensive charm bracelet he didn’t know she owned, and each charm seems to represent a part of Miriam's pre-married life. After the shock wears off, Arthur steps out of his grief-stricken comfort zone of staid routine to discover what Miriam was hiding in her past. What follows is a series of adventures including getting slightly mauled by a tiger, acquiring a pair of electric blue harem pants, getting robbed, and making new unlikely friends. Along the way he also works on reacquainting himself with his somewhat estranged children and realizes that discovering that living a non-adventurous and simple life doesn’t mean it hasn’t been well lived.

I absolutely adored this, well, charming, funny, and heartwarming story of grief and friendship, and I confess I fell a wee bit in love with Arthur Pepper. Highly recommended for fans of UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY, and A MAN CALLED OVE.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books321 followers
February 10, 2023
Sixty nine year old Arthur Pepper is struggling to cope after the death of Miriam, his beloved wife of forty years. Arthur’s son lives in Australia with his wife and family and Arthur's daughter Lucy only ever keeps in sporadic touch with Arthur. He does have a neighbour Bernadette who keeps checking in on him. Bernadette is a person who cares for a number of people. But sometimes Arthur just wishes she would go away and leave him alone. He has turned inward, living a simple life, that is until the one year anniversary of Miriam’s death. While sorting through her belongings Arthur comes across a beautiful gold charm bracelet he never remembers having seen before. The charm bracelet starts him off on a quest that takes him to various places, as he seeks to understand the significance of each of the charms. How well does he really know Miriam? Maybe not as well as he thought. As he follows the clues of the charms Arthur finds out a lot about Miriam and her life before he knew her. He also discovers a lot about himself.
This is a debut novel by Phaedra Patrick and I really enjoyed it. It is touching, heartwarming, hopeful and sad at times. I admit to teary eyes over the course of the journey. Yes, the reader needs to suspend disbelief in some cases but I was happy enough to do so, mostly. An enjoyable read recommended for those who like feel good books. I am a sucker for them at present.
November 21, 2017
Arthur, on the one year anniversary of his wife Miriam's death, finds a charm bracelet tucked among her belongings, one he didn't know existed. His curiosity leads him to search for the origins of the charms. Each charm represents a part of his wife's life before their marriage - and what a life she led. It was so exciting that Arthur begins to doubt if he knew his wife at all, and wonders if their quiet unassuming life together was a happy one for Miriam.

Arthur visits different countries and meets some interesting characters along the way. Some of it may be a little implausible but the story is so charming it's easy to overlook. I'd advise suspending disbelief - just enjoy the journey with Arthur. Although Arthur sets out to discover more about his wife, along the way the journey also becomes one of self-discovery. Although the book is a lighter read, deeper themes are explored that would make for excellent book club discussions.

This is a sweet, quirky heart-warming tale recommended for readers who enjoyed A Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
Profile Image for Joy D.
2,072 reviews240 followers
July 9, 2019
Arthur Pepper, a retired locksmith living in a small English village near York, has been a widower for a year. He is a strait-laced man who adheres to strict routines. Arthur discovers a charm bracelet while going through his wife’s possessions and finds a phone number on one of the eight charms. He calls the number, which starts a process of uncovering his wife’s past through researching the story behind each charm. He wonders if he had ever truly known his wife, as she had not confided in him about her past during their forty years of marriage. As the story progresses, we find out about Arthur’s neighbors, community, and children. He interacts with a variety of quirky people and ventures out of his comfort zone.

This is a sweet story about overcoming grief, developing closer relationships, and expanding horizons to live a more fulfilling life. The writing is rather basic and perhaps overly expository. The story stretches belief and contains a few inconsistencies but overall, I found it a pleasant diversion.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,147 reviews2,767 followers
July 17, 2016

Another GR reviewer indicated this was a good choice for those who enjoy Helen Simonson. So, I decided to give it a try.

Arthur Pepper finds an unknown charm bracelet in his dead wife’s belongings and goes off to discover the pre-married history of his wife that he knew nothing about. It's a quirky sort of adventure, with Arthur both learning about himself and teaching others. As he says ” I am learning more about myself, too… With each person I encounter, with each story I hear, I feel as if I am changing and growing, And maybe others benefit a little from meeting me also. It's a strange feeling.”

Unfortunately, this book is nowhere near as charming as either of Simonson’s book. Interesting in parts, but it also drags for large portions. Yes, Arthur is lovable, as are many of the folks he meets. But something just didn't fully click for me.

Profile Image for Karina.
851 reviews
June 9, 2023
Passed away was the term everyone liked to use. It was as if saying the word died was swearing. Arthur hated the words passed away. They sounded gentle, like a canal boat chugging through rippling water, or a bubble floating in a cloudless sky. (PG 10)

Move on? Like to bloody where? He was sixty-nine, not a teenager who could go to university or on a gap year. (PG 14)

As you can tell from the above quotes that this is a book about death. Married to Miriam for 40 years, Arthur can't cope without her, and really, would prefer to be dead himself. His constant routine and lethargy for the everyday things in life make him miserable to be around.

Arthur Pepper reminded me of A Man Called Ove meets Pandora's box. The Box sets him off into an adventure but he's not sure he likes the adventure. It does get a bit silly but it's not off putting. I read more because I was curious how it would end. It was actually cute-sy and sweet and sad.

Now the question that really needs an answer from our audience:: Feel free to comment below:::

Would you be satisfied with the life you had with your significant other, after finding a secret item, or would you dig into their past to uncover, possibly, unsavory, questionable character "flaws"?
Profile Image for Linda Hart.
733 reviews141 followers
April 22, 2019
This is a happy easy read book that delighted me, and although it's not great literature the entertainment value for me is deserving of 5 stars. It's a bittersweet, funny, and heartwarming story about a recently widowed man of 70 who is unable to really get through the days of loneliness. Upon the task of clearing out his wife's belongings, he discovers a hidden charm bracelet he had never seen before. Shocked that she had a life prior to him that he did not know about, he seeks to learn more about her. This search takes him to places far and wide and along the way he has adventures and makes colorful friends that were somehow connected with his wife. This is a sweet, poignant book which I would not hesitate to recommend to readers of any genre.
Profile Image for Jonathan K (Max Outlier).
645 reviews129 followers
November 22, 2019
I really enjoyed this story which reminded me of the "Hundred Year Old Man who...". Funny, heart warming and well paced Arthur Pepper gets himself into some unusual situations when he encounters some rather interesting 'characters' along the way. Well written, paced and filled with plot twists and humor, this is a book worth reading.
Profile Image for Toni.
660 reviews202 followers
November 8, 2017
Another feel good book about an older man losing his wife. BUT, he finds a beautiful, gold charm bracelet tucked into the toe of one of her barely worn shoes, as he finally starts to clean out her closet. What's this? Arthur doesn't recall ever seeing this before.
The first charm, an elegant gold elephant with a green emerald in his tummy has tiny numbers etched on his side. Arthur calls the number which leads him to a lovely family in India the first "stop" on his journey of the charms. He's off to discover who his wife was before he me her, but he gets so much more in return.
It's a lovely, encouraging book that will restore your hope and get you out of your house.
Recommend it highly.
Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,907 reviews1,642 followers
March 26, 2016
Arthur Pepper was married to Miriam for 40 years and they had a strict routine they kept to every day. After her death Arthur keeps to the routine his wife had set out.

On the anniversary of her death Arthur decides it's time to sort out her belongings.

In the bottom of the wardrobe Arthur puts his hand into one of her boots and and to his surprise there is a box that contains a charm bracelet he has never seen before.

On one of the charms he finds a telephone number which he decides to call to see if the person on the other end knew Miriam and if they gave knew about the bracelet.

The man tells him he lives in India and was just a boy when Miriam came into his life. He told Arthur he only gave her 1 charm but does not know the story behind the rest.

This is a delightful tale of Arthur's the mystery of the charms and the new adventures they soon uncover

I would like to thank Net Galley, Harlequin (uk) Limited and the author Phaedra Patrik for arc in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Connie G.
1,739 reviews476 followers
March 5, 2018
Widower Arthur Pepper is grieving and has resorted to the same daily routine, rarely leaving his Yorkshire home. He finds a beautiful charm bracelet when he's sorting through his deceased wife's possessions. A phone number engraved on one charm starts him on a journey where he learns about the important people and places in his wife's life before they were married. Along the way Arthur reawakens to life and all the possibilities it holds.

The people that Arthur meets seem to open their hearts and their homes to him much more quickly than people in real life. It's a warm, charming book that's perfect if you're in the mood to read a "feel good" story. 3.5 stars.
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