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Nadine's Pick: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper


I often find myself drawn to characters who end up on a journey, whether they be geographical, existential, or a lively combination of both. Bilbo Baggins was the first such adventurer I discovered as a child, and since then the list of fictional people that I admire - whose lives become disrupted by circumstances beyond their control - has grown. I recently read "The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper" by Phaedra Patrick and was charmed enough, as it were, to add Arthur's name to that list.

On the one-year anniversary of his wife Miriam's death, retired widower Arthur finally summons the courage to go through her things and get rid of them as quickly as possible, if only to get the painful task over with. To his surprise, among her wardrobe of neutral, staid items, he finds a heavy, gold bracelet laden with exquisite charms, a possession he's never before seen. It seems to clash with what he only knew to be her quiet, unassuming personality, and he wonders what sort of extravagant life could generate a jeweled series of memories that she never shared with her husband of forty years.

Closer inspection of one of the charms leads to a phone call with a stranger in India, who shares a most incredible story involving a young boy besotted with his British nanny: Miriam. This leads Arthur to follow the charms' history across England and Europe in a series of trips involving a pickpocket, a mad baron in possession of multiple tigers, discovering the comfort of satin balloon pants, Parisian wedding dresses, his nosy neighbour, and eventually his own grown children.

This title is available in multiple formats, as well as in both English and French. Enjoy!