Time to start reviewing the titles I’ve read for this year’s book challenges! As I’m so desperate to travel, I’m starting with a book from the UK and aiming to “read my way out” of my home turf so that I can pretend I’m going on an epic hitch-hiking trip around Europe (or wherever I end up).
NB. I don’t actually advocate hitch-hiking unless you take necessary precautions- there are some truly wicked people out there.
Blurb (from goodreads)
As the sun rises over the Georgian townhouses of Scotland Street, its most delightfully eccentric residents have burning questions on their minds. Will Big Lou find true love at last? How will Bertie’s healthy snacks go down at his school fair? And has Bruce Anderson really won the lottery? With his trademark charm and deftness, Alexander McCall Smith writes the eighth installment in his popular series.
There is something about this series that has me coming back for more. Many somethings in fact, although I’ll restrain my remarks to my 2 favourite aspects of this book. Promise.
Firstly it is the writing style. Whether poking fun at the narcissistic Bruce Anderson, who’s now back in Edinburgh for the foreseeable future (and with one heck of a story-line floating around him), or following Cyril the dog as he embarks on another adventure around Edinburgh, McCall Smith leads the reader with a gentle but firm hand. Each character’s lives progress at a decent rate, except of course for Bertie’s- he’s been stuck at 6 years old for seven books now, which is starting to drag as I really want to see him grow up and become a moody teenager/ independent adult. McCall Smith handles any potentially painful or traumatic moments, such as the near argument over the Battle/ “Misunderstanding” of Glencoe well and resolves them quickly and in a grown-up fashion before any nastiness occurs.
The second something that has me going back for more is that although each character has an active life, they all have time to reflect upon aspects of life and draw some interesting conclusions that always end up filtering back into the non-book world. The part that stayed with me after finishing this novel was the moment when Angus’ looked around the room during a party he and his wife were hosting and felt thoroughly blessed as he saw, “links between people that went in all sorts of directions and had made for friendships that would otherwise not have come into existence. The forges of friendship, thought Angus, may be busy ones, but their doors are always open”.
Although some elements, such as Bertie remaining 6 and Pat’s continued and completely unbelievable crush on Bruce jar, there is so much goodness and ‘simple’ joy in this that it entertains and warms the cockles of your heart.
Perfect reading in a cold climate.