The newest installment of Alexander McCall Smith's perennially popular and irresistibly charming 44 Scotland Street series.
Bertie's respite from his overbearing mother, Irene, is over. She has returned home from the Middle East, only to discover that her son has been exposed to the worst of evils: cartoons, movies, and even carbonated beverages. But the one who should be most concerned is her unfortunate husband, Stuart, upon whom her wrath is about to descend.
Meanwhile, Bruce has fallen in love with someone other than himself; Big Lou wants to adopt her beloved Finlay; Matthew and Elspeth host the Duke of Johannesburg for supper; and Bertie decides he wants to move away from Scotland Street altogether and live with his grandmother, Nicola. Will Irene and Stuart's marriage survive? Will Bruce's newfound love last? And can Bertie really be leaving home?
With wit, warmth, and humor, Alexander McCall Smith explores these matters of the heart and more with the colorful cast of characters from 44 Scotland Street.
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I'm a fan, but...
Not sure. I've enjoyed the Scotland Street series up to now, but I'm getting a bit fed up with Eileen, who's turning into a total caricature, and perhaps a vessel for the author's misogyny, along with Olive, her mini-me...
Get rid of Eileen, already. Give Bertie and Stuart a break.
Slow moving like all McCall Smith's books, and tends to meander but as long as I'm listening to Mackenzie's lovely accent I don't really mind.
I think it's about time for Bertie to start standing up for himself. Stuart might be a lost cause. The previous volume, when Eileen was out of the way stuck in the desert, was more enjoyable.
- A. Kiss
Irene strikes again
Probably. I often re-listen to books. My only hesitation here is that I finished the book for the first time two days ago, and I'm still depressed (which is not a normal response on finishing a book). I usually regret leaving favorite characters, until the next installment when I can get caught up again. But Irene isn't just overbearing, she has crossed the line and is an abuser And she's winning (at least for now). Like a lot of other followers of the denizens of 44 Scotland Street, I am anxious for a good resolution. I also noticed a couple of discontinuities here. I thought that Elspeth's parents were both deceased, but she visits them in this volume. Did I miss something? And in this story, Dr. Fairburn supposedly encounters Ulysses for the first time. But I think that Ulysses was born before Dr. Fairburn absconded to Aberdeen and would have met Ulysses during one of Bertie's sessions.
I like watching Bertie grow up and develop his friendships. I like that Dominica and Nicola are becoming friends. I'm glad that Nicola stayed in Edinburgh after Irene returned form Dubai. I like how Elspeth and Matthew are handling parenthood. I'm really glad Angus got his wits back.
I'm not Scottish. So Mr. Mackenzie's rendering gives the characters much more depth than I would be able to engender with only the voices in my head.
Depression ... as mentioned above. I understand that Mr. McCall Smith is probably not looking to delve into the area of spousal and child abuse. But he has a good foil for that narrative with the evil Irene.
I love Mr. McCall Smith's ability to tell a story that is engaging without needing to resort to graphic descriptions of sex or violence.
- E. Leichter