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It is summer in Scotland Street (as it always is) and for the habitues of Edinburgh's favourite street some extraordinary adventures lie in waiting. For the impossibly vain Bruce Anderson - he of the clove-scented hair gel - it may finally be time to settle down, and surely it can only be a question of picking the lucky winner from the hordes of his admirers. The Duke of Johannesburg is keen to take his flight of fancy, a microlite seaplane, from the drawing board to the skies. Big Lou is delighted to discover that her young foster son has a surprising gift for dance but she is faced with big decisions to make on his and her futures. And with Irene now away to pursue her research in Aberdeen, her husband, Stuart, and infinitely long-suffering son, Bertie, are free to play. Stuart rekindles an old friendship over peppermint tea whilst Bertie and his friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson get more they bargained for from their trip to the circus. And that's just the beginning . . .
Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . . 'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday Express If only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police. Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness. Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.
If you have been with this series from the beginning, and this is the 11th, you will be familiar with the characters who live around Scotland Street in Edinburgh. Mr McCall Smith is a natural storyteller who manages to subtly fill in the background so newcomers will soon learn about the personalities and foibles of the inhabitants and they are a fascinating collection of people. Bertie of the title is only seven but has the wisdom of Solomon and the mother from hell. The ‘Project’ of the title refers to his mother, Irene’s plan for his intense upbringing. Yoga, psychotherapy, Italian lessons are in; fun, Swiss army knives, junk food are not in! Bertie’s father, Stuart, is a kind, lovely man but completely overruled by his wife. When Stuart’s mother suspects Stuart is having an affair she is delighted, hoping he will rid himself of her truly awful daughter-in-law. As always, new characters are introduced. In this book it is Clare, a very typical, outdoor-loving, extreme-sports enthusiastic Australian. She and the narcissistic Bruce of earlier books join forces and Clare replaces the two Scandinavian au pairs of familiar Matthew and Elspeth to help with their now walking boy triplets. This is the expected delightful read and leaves one eagerly anticipating the next in the series. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Welcome back to 44 Scotland Street and to the lives of the much loved (well, in most cases) inhabitants. ‘The Revolving Door of Life’ is the tenth novel in the series and although you really should start at the beginning, you could actually read this as a completely charming standalone novel. Should I have a favourite character, perhaps not, as all have a delicious quirk that draws me to them, however the absolutely delightful Bertie sits in a favoured spot in the back of my mind. Alexander McCall Smith has a beautifully light touch, he has the ability to open up the oddities of human behaviour without being heavy handed and harsh. It’s the small things, the little thoughts, the asides that are exquisitely described and so powerful. Amusing, eyebrow raising and full of satisfying warmth and love, this is an enchanting and joyful read. ~ Liz Robinson Click here to read an exclusive interview with Alexander McCall Smith by Mary Hogarth.
As summer blooms in Edinburgh's gardens and Bertie Pollock's birthday appears on the horizon, all at 44 Scotland Street is not cake and sunshine. Newlywed Angus Lordie has been booked by his bride into what he must not call the loony bin; Bruce's first encounter with hot wax brings more anguish than he bargained for; and Bertie's birthday dreams of scout camp and a penknife look set to be replaced by a game of Royal Weddings and a gender-neutral doll. But fate, an amorous Bedouin and the Dubai Tourist Authority conspire to transport Bertie's mother Irene to a warmer - if not a better - place, and once again in Scotland Street the triumph of human kindness over adversity gives cause for celebration.
Scotland Street witnesses the wedding of the century of Angus Lordie to Domenica Macdonald, but as the newlyweds depart on honeymoon Edinburgh is in disarray. Recovering from the trauma of being best man, Matthew is taken up by a Dane called Bo, while Cyril eludes his dog-sitter and embarks on an odyssey involving fox-holes and the official residence of a cardinal. Narcissist Bruce meets his match in the form of a sinister doppelganger; Bertie, set up by his mother for fresh embarrassment at school, yearns for freedom; and Big Lou goes viral. But the residents of Scotland Street rally, and order - and Cyril - is restored by the combined effects of understanding, kindness, and, most of all, friendship.
Even down to its well-set Georgian townhouses, Edinburgh is a hymn to measure and harmony. But on Scotland Street, domestic accord is in short supply. Matthew and Elspeth welcome three new arrivals, though the joys of multiple parenthood are somewhat lost due to sleep deprivation and the difficulties of telling their brood apart. Angus and Domenica are to marry, and Domenica has ambitious and disturbing plans for their living arrangements, especially when it appears that Antonia, in Italy recuperating from Stendhal Syndrome, may not return. And little Bertie, feeling blue, puts himself up for adoption on eBay. Can Edinburgh's most deliciously dysfunctional residents forsake discord and learn to dance to the same happy tune?
The sixth volume of Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful serial novels set in Edinburgh's New Town. Warm-hearted, wise and very funny, The Importance of Being Seven brings us a fresh and delightful set of insights into philosophy and fraternity among Edinburgh's most loveable residents.
The fifth volume of the Scotland Street series is here with the wonderful cast of characters that reside there. These are a joy to read and plenty of different story lines to keep the action going and the reader satisfied. Lovely stuff.
Poor put-upon Bertie is still struggling to escape his overbearing mother's influence, his yoga lessons and his pink bedroom while wondering why new baby brother Ulysses looks uncomfortably like his psychotherapist. The insufferably handsome Bruce has returned from London to land, on his feet and rent-free, in the arms of heiress Julia Donald. But all is not well among the residents of 44 Scotland Street: Angus's dog and constant companion Cyril is under threat of execution, victim of a miscarriage of justice, while pretty, indecisive Pat and hopeless romantic Matthew are on the verge of making the most terrible mistake of their lives . . . Big Lou finds a new man, Matthew and Pat edge their relationship towards something more permanent - although this development is not without complications, when a glimpse of someone who just might be her handsome, caddish ex-flatmate Bruce sets Pat's pulse racing - and Domenica's friendship with Antonia is tested to the limit when an assortment of her belongings mysteriously appear in Antonia's new flat.
With his characteristic warmth, inventiveness and brilliant wit, Alexander McCall Smith gives us more of the gloriously entertaining comings and goings at 44 Scotland Street, the Edinburgh townhouse. Six-year-old prodigy Bertie perseveres in his heroic struggle for truth and balanced good sense against his insufferable mother and her crony, the psychotherapist Dr Fairbairn, going as far as to make a short-lived bid for freedom on a trip to Paris with the Edinburgh youth orchestra. Domenica sets off on an anthropological odyssey with pirates in the Malacca Straits, while Pat attracts several handsome admirers, including a toothsome suitor named Wolf. And Big Lou, eternal source of coffee and good advice to her friends, has love, heartbreak and erstwhile boyfriend Eddie's misdemeanours on her own mind.
In Espresso Tales, Alexander McCall Smith returns home to Edinburgh and the glorious cast of his own tales of the city, the residents of 44 Scotland Street, with a new set of challenges for each one of them. Bruce, the intolerably vain and perpetually deluded ex-surveyor, is about to embark on a new career as a wine merchant, while his long-suffering flatmate Pat MacGregor, set up by matchmaking Domenica Macdonald, finds herself invited to a nudist picnic in Moray Place in the pursuit of true love. Prodigious six-year-old Bertie Pollock wants a boy's life of fishing and rugby, not yoga and pink dungarees, and he plots rebellion against his bossy, crusading mother Irene and his psychotherapist Dr Fairbairn. But when Bertie's longed-for trip to Glasgow with his ineffectual father Stuart ends with Bertie taking money off legendary Glasgow hard man Lard O'Connor at cards, it looks as though Bertie should have been more careful what he wished for. And all the time it appears that both Irene Pollock and Dr Fairbairn are engaged in a struggle with dark secrets and unconscious urges of their own.
Alexander McCall Smith is a favourite in the LoveReading Office. He has the ability to poke fun, exhort chuckles, be sharply pointed, yet retain an overall lightness of touch. He is a wonderful author and here in the 44 Scotland Street Series he shines a light on the inhabitants of a street in Edinburgh in the most delightful way. 44 Scotland Street is a complete delight and comes as highly recommended by our team. The 44 Scotland Street series: 1. 44 Scotland Street 2. Espresso Tales 3. Love Over Scotland 4. The World According to Bertie 5. The Unbearable Lightness Of Scones 6. The Importance Of Being Seven 7. Bertie Plays The Blues 8. Sunshine on Scotland Street 9. Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers 10. The Revolving Door of Life 11. The Bertie Project 12. A Time of Love and Tartan 13. The Peppermint Tea Chronicles Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.