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The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

by Phaedra Patrick

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick X
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
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  • First Published:
    May 2016, 336 pages

    Jan 2017, 288 pages


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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

An 18-Carat Gold Charm of a Book: What a Delight!
This captivating story of dear Arthur Pepper, grieving widower, discombobulated father and disgruntled neighbor, is a lot like a soft, warm shawl. It will wrap its way around you, and you won't want to let it go. It is a tale about life, love and loneliness—and the inescapable fact that we are never too old to change.

This is a feel-good book. There is no profound philosophical content that attempts to change the direction of the world, but this is just the book to have on your (electronic) bookshelf when you need it. It is what it is…and enjoy it just for that.

It has been one year to the day since Arthur Pepper's wife, Miriam, died. He has tasked himself with finally going through her things, and in so doing he finds a mysterious 18-carat gold charm bracelet that he has never before seen. But what do the eight charms—ranging from an elephant decorated with an emerald to a paint palette engraved with the initials SY—mean, if anything? Peering closely at the elephant, Arthur sees a telephone number engraved on it. So it calls the number…and it is answered by a physician in India. As far as he knows, his wife has never been to India. Or has she? Herein is the plot of the book as Arthur, so set in his ways and obstinately devoted to his daily routine, disrupts his life to find out the meaning behind each of the charms. As he takes on this strange, twisted and quite unusual journey, Arthur discovers much about Miriam's apparently secret life before their marriage—including something so utterly shocking to him that it has the potential (if he lets it) to destroy everything he cherished about her. And along the way, Arthur also discovers something else: Himself.

Beautifully written by Phaedra Patrick, this book offers a true appreciation of the human condition in all its foibles and frailties, and the double entendre of the title is just plain fun. It is a delight to be treasured.

Bonus: The ending is perfect. Just perfect.
Power Reviewer
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

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

A MOST charming reading experience
Ms Patrick's debut novel touched my heart many times over as I experienced the account of this older British chap's adventures and rebirth, so to speak. I am recommending this book to all of my reading friends (and to anyone else out there listening).

I hope it gets picked up as a movie script one day; Arthur Pepper ranks up there with Carl Fredrickson in "Up".
Brenda S

I thoroughly enjoyed this charming little book. It explores the themes of trust, adventure, loss & family. It'll make you laugh & cry. I think that fans of "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" would really enjoy this book.
Beth D. (Apple Valley, MN)

For fans of life's second acts
On her 81st birthday, my grandmother married her high school sweetheart. She hadn't seen him for 63 years, though they did exchange letters around the time of their 50th reunion. I love stories like these. People who believe life is to be lived, despite the amount of time one has left.

Arthur Pepper, perhaps to his own surprise, turns out to be one of these people. He reflects on this a few times throughout the book, that instead of being in x situation (or, frankly, predicament) he could be back in his armchair, quietly living out his days. But how much he'd miss out on, even if it would be easier (or, frankly, more enjoyable) if he'd skipped saying yes to new adventures. Or if he'd had less curiosity.

This isn't a new message - it seems to be a current trend in fiction, with popularity of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and A Man Called Ove, to name just two - but I enjoyed this version. The hook, that he is tracking down the meaning behind his wife's charm bracelet, works for me. The stories behind each are just oddball enough to keep the plot moving. I liked the characters, preferring Arthur to Ove, and the blue pants. And I appreciate the tension between Arthur's missing his wife and wanting to continue living.

I recommend this book!

Oh, and my grandmother? She had four years of wedded bliss before her second husband passed away. But another 14 years of a full, happy life after that, passing away at the age of 99.
Susan P. (Boston, MA)

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
A retired older widower in England is cleaning out his wife's closet a year after her death (he can finally face it) and finds a charm bracelet he never knew existed. Based on various clues from the charms and from the people he speaks with/meets, he discovered his wife had an interesting life before they met. He thinks he doesn't want to know some of this but learns a great deal (especially about himself and some about his daughter). Like some older people, he's set in his ways but it really is a tender story. For anyone who enjoyed Major Pettigrew and Harold Fry.

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. A story of "you're never too old" to start living. A book of mixed feelings and discovering oneself even when you thought you were too old and set in your ways to have such wonderful discoveries. The book takes us from a small town in England, to London, Paris and India. I truly loved this book, even though I'm not fond of British books.
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper: an all-ages book
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a satisfying hybrid – an archeology of a life and a coming-of-age story. Arthur Pepper, in the infancy of old age, tracks along his late wife's backstory, following the clues of her tucked-away charm bracelet. Most coming-of-age stories are about the hard transition from child to adult. Arthur finds that he is fossilizing. But in a kind of elder adolescence, Arthur begins adventuring. Reading The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a sovereign remedy against old thinking.

I think that The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is an all-ages book, at least from YA to OA. This book could be a Common Read for an extended family, the discussions (or posts or tweets) cross-linking generations.

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