In The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick, we meet lonely widower Arthur Pepper, who has been stuck in a bit of a rut since his wife passed away. As he faces the difficult task of finally clearing out her things on the one year anniversary of her death, Arthur makes a discovery that will take him on a life-changing journey. Tucked in an old boot, he finds a charm bracelet he doesn’t recall ever having seen before. As he studies the bracelet, Arthur ponders the meaning of each of the charms; they seem so personal and significant that he is quite surprised he knows nothing about them and what they meant to his wife. One phone call later and Arthur is off; not only to find the hidden meaning behind each of his wife’s curious charms, but also, along the way, his own dormant charms.
Throughout his long marriage, Arthur became comfortable with a simple, predictable lifestyle. Sharing a close and loving relationship with his wife, he assumed he knew everything about her, and never thought too much about her life prior to their meeting. Finding her charm bracelet sends him into a tailspin, as he questions everything he thought he knew about his wife and their relationship. In an effort to learn more, Arthur cautiously abandons his routine, and, one by one, begins making decisions and taking actions that seem completely foreign to his character. Reluctant to begin, he nonetheless embarks on the greatest adventure of his life thus far. Travel, friendships, family relationships, and new (albeit sometimes uncomfortable) experiences suddenly take on a new meaning for Arthur. He learns a great deal about his wife, but perhaps more importantly, he also discovers aspects of himself that he had previously failed to recognize, and comes to terms with how he’d like to continue on in the next stage of his life, without his wife by his side.
Captivating and sweet, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper serves as a reminder that it is never too late to choose a different path, to try new things, to repair or forge relationships, or to make a conscious decision to live more fully.
Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by MIRA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.