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Publisher's Summary

The author of the best-selling and universally adored No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series now gives us The Forever Girl, a novel about love and following one's heart, and the unexpected places to which this can lead us. Amanda and her husband, David, feel fortunate to be raising their son and daughter in the close-knit community of ex-pats on Grand Cayman Island, an idyllic place for children to grow up. Their firstborn, Sally, has always listened to her heart, deciding at age four that she would rather be called Clover and then, a few years later, falling in love with her best friend, James.
But the comforting embrace of island life can become claustrophobic for adults, especially when they are faced with difficult situations. At the same time that Clover falls in love with James, Amanda realizes that she has fallen out of love with David…and that she is interested in someone else. While Amanda tries to navigate the new path her heart is leading her down, Clover finds, much to her dismay, that James seems to be growing away from her. And when they leave the island for boarding school-- James to England and Clover to Scotland--she feels she may have lost him for good. As Clover moves on to university, seldom seeing James but always carrying him in her heart, she finds herself torn between a desire to go forward with her life and the old feelings that she just can' t shed. Through the lives of Clover and James, and Amanda and David, acclaimed storyteller Alexander McCall Smith tells a tale full of love and heartbreak, humor and melancholy, that beautifully demonstrates the myriad ways in which love shapes our lives.
©2014 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2014 Recorded Books
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Critic Reviews

"What may seem like an ordinary love tangle is a very rich stew of contemporary mores and a great stage for both comedy and heartbreak." ( Booklist)
"Touchingly conceived.... In the end we see that love unfulfilled still makes a difference." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Scott on 05-11-14

By Love Obsessed

I've read or listened to all of Alexander McCall Smith's adult books, and this one stands apart in its repetition and lack of humor. In tone it reminds me of Scott Spencer's Endless Love, or the novels of Anne Tyler. We suffer the protagonist's obsession for hours, only to be handed a shockingly abrupt ending. The scene we eagerly anticipated throughout the book finally arrives, we wait to see what the main character will say and do, and suddenly a curtain is drawn over that pivotal, life changing moment, and we find ourselves on a beach, with the protagonist and her mother, engaged in a banal conversation that adds nothing to the story. How disappointing!

Nonetheless, along the way we're treated to a few of McCall Smith's philosophical asides, insights into human character, and the nature of romantic love. And Susan Lyons does a wonderful job of narration, handling a number of English accents with subtlety and grace.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By A. Kiss on 03-10-14

Boring, don't bother (sorry, AMcCS)

Would you try another book from Alexander McCall Smith and/or Susan Lyons?

I'm a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith, love all his Botswana and Scotland series. I would certainly read the next book in any of those series, but not sure I would chance another "free-standing" book

Have you listened to any of Susan Lyons’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I like her reading overall, but she doesn't make any distinction at all for the voices various characters (male and female) except for the occasional American accent. Everyone else sounds exactly the same.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


Any additional comments?

Nothing of any interest happens in this book. It's just endless rounds of frustrated love among characters who are not sufficiently interesting to care much about. Page after tedious page of a teenage girl moaning over the fact that the boy she loves doesn't love her, or she thinks he doesn't but she can't bring herself to ask... I guess we're supposed to appreciate how the daughter's love live (or lack thereof) mirrors her mother's, but all it says to me is that they share the same annoying character flaws. Mr. McCall Smith's books are always rather slow paced, of course, but I usually don't mind as the characters are richer and there is an actual plot line, such as a mystery or unexpected developments. I'm finishing this book just because I almost always finish books that I start - not because I could care less about whether Clover eventually winds up with James or not...

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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