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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Sunshine to Scotland..
I love Alexander McCall Smith’s writing particularly his ability to get into the minds of children. This book is set initially in Grand Cayman then Edinburgh where his Scotland St. books are set. These two places are very familiar to me so I feel he has captured the essence of both despite them being radically different places. The focus of this book, Clover, who...
Published 1 month ago by Mimi Moor

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking the charm of his other books
Alexander McCall Smith's latest stand-alone novel tells the story of two white ex-pat families who live on the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman. Clover and James are childhood friends, but as they grow up Clover longs for something more, which James seems unable or unwilling to give her. To complicate matters, Clover's mother Amanda and James' father George are also...
Published 2 months ago by Denise4891


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking the charm of his other books, 7 May 2014
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Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Alexander McCall Smith's latest stand-alone novel tells the story of two white ex-pat families who live on the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman. Clover and James are childhood friends, but as they grow up Clover longs for something more, which James seems unable or unwilling to give her. To complicate matters, Clover's mother Amanda and James' father George are also attracted to each other, but are frustrated by the constraints of family and conservative island life. Fast-forward 10 years or so and Clover and James are now University students in Edinburgh and Clover is still pining for her first love, which leads her to make some pretty rash and unwise decisions.

As with most of McCall Smith's books it's a gentle, easy read, but I found it lacked the charm and whimsy that I've enjoyed in the No1 Ladies Detective Agency series and the only other of his stand-alones that I've read, La's Orchestra Saves the World (which I loved). I was never totally convinced by Clover's unerring and seemingly indiscriminate adoration of James (probably because his character is never fully explored so I couldn't see the attraction) and eventually I just didn't care what happened to either of them.

Judging by some other reviews, I don't seem to have been as disappointed as some of AMS's loyal fans, but not my favourite of his books by a long shot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Sunshine to Scotland.., 19 Jun 2014
By 
Mimi Moor - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I love Alexander McCall Smith’s writing particularly his ability to get into the minds of children. This book is set initially in Grand Cayman then Edinburgh where his Scotland St. books are set. These two places are very familiar to me so I feel he has captured the essence of both despite them being radically different places. The focus of this book, Clover, who has a childhood sweetheart whom she loves deeply from the age of 6, turns out to be a rather irritating heroine. You feel like giving her a kick to get her to be even just slightly assertive. Throughout the book I found myself becoming more and more annoyed with her as she was just such a wimp. This spoiled my enjoyment slightly but overall I enjoyed McCall Smith’s writing immensely and I feel any fan will recognise the descriptions of the child’s world with pleasure.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work, 23 July 2014
By 
Sarah Lambert "Book addict" (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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This is an enjoyable read but is not of the standard of some of Alexander McCall Smith's other books. The story centres around Clover and James who are from expatriate families living in the Cayman Islands. Clover falls for James at 6 and then remains obsessed with him despite him showing no interest in her and them barely meeting for years. It is quite hard to see what Clover sees in James as we really don't get a chance to get to know him - all we know is that he is kind, which isn't really backed up in his behaviour towards Clover at times. The trouble is that Clover just gets annoying with her obsession and her stalking, and every chance she gets to tell him how she feels she starts telling a load of lies for no real reason. It would have been good to have seen a bit more development of the other characters in the book, the parents and Ted or even James, as I don't think Clover is likeable enough for a whole book. The style is very readable but I was expecting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner as usual, 23 May 2014
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Thompson Family "jst" (Tanfield, Co. Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I love Alexander McCall Smith and am a massive fan of his books. This does not disappoint, a heartbreaking tale of love, and the pain of growing up. The setting of the Cayman Islands really makes a change. I do hope that he continues the story of Clover and James as they take their relationship to another level.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMS at his best, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
Bought as a gift this book has delivered great pleasure. AMS's distinctive style never fails to deliver. His use of language is exquisite and continues to deliver pure pleasure. Pure pleasures are few and far between today. Too much lazy language for my liking from many other authors, but never from AMS. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK read, 18 Jun 2014
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Mr. J. C. Kent "johnckent" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Although certainly not my favourite book by Mr McCall Smith it contained lovely passages of writing and his usual brilliant insights into the human psyche. I felt it lacked the usual undercurrent of humour though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 6 Jun 2014
By 
M. A. Dunnington (Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I have never read a McCall Smith novel before - why I do not know. I really enjoyed this new book, it was read in a day as I could not stop - a real page turner.
A story of love that is unrequited. At times I became very frustrated with the central character and wanted to shake her into some semblance of normality - but the author keeps the readers interest throughout and has an easy style to follow.
There is much depth of character to his narrative and I will certainly be reading his other novels from now on.
A highly recommended read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring!, 31 May 2014
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D E Barker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I was very much looking forward to receiving this novel as Alexander McCall Smith has a good reputation. I started reading it avidly the day it arrived, but after a week or so I found it was more and more of a struggle to go back to it. The reason for this is that the characters, being a bunch of bored and boring ex-pats, really didn't engage me at all, and Mr McCall Smith makes almost no attempt to evoke interest in his settings. Then there is the problem that nothing much happens! Anyway, I would say the book is nothing more than very light holiday reading. If you want something more, buy something else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So disappointing, 3 May 2014
By 
Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I looked forward to reading this book as I have enjoyed the simple but meaningful morality of Prudence Ramotswe, the intelligence of Isabel Dalhousie and young Bertie in the ‘Scotland Street sagas’ is a great favourite of mine. So what a disappointment this novel turned out to be - even when Clover is a young child she is not a particularly interesting child and she very definitely lacks the charm of young Bertie and his schoolmates. Clover’s love/obsession with her best friend James, which starts at age six, does not seem to develop or grow beyond the emotion which she first felt at age six. As for James – we learn very little of him except he is ‘kind’ – a fact we are assured of many times throughout the novel. The childhood friend of clover and James – Ted, does have the potential to be interesting but his appearances are infrequent. Clover picks up and drops people at whim but if she was a ‘real’ person rather than a character in a novel I’d say that people would soon drop her as they would find her exceptionally boring! Clover – and her author – assure us that [despite her rather freaky haunting of James various dwelling places] is not a ‘stalker’ but at times she very definitely appears to be one! However, I think the main problem with this character is that McCall Smith has not given her any depth. We learn little of her beyond the fact that she loves James. Of her history we learn that she leaves the Cayman Islands and goes to High School and then on to University in Edinburgh [where she takes a degree in the History of Art] but at no stage do we learn what she feels about that wonderful City beyond the fact that it is greener and colder than the Cayman Islands. As far as we know she develops no understanding or interest in the world’s artists whilst studying them – does she even visit even one of Edinburgh’s wonderful art galleries? It would appear her time in this beautiful, cultural city is spent musing hopelessly about James. Clover, I’m afraid is a very underdeveloped character, very one dimensional – at the end of the novel we know little more about her than we did when she was age six. At the end of the novel [which suddenly peters out] I felt Alexander McCall Smith had become as bored with Clover as I had! I hope this talented author goes back to giving us the pleasures of reading about Bertie and Precious Ramotswe and does not write any more Mills and Boon type love stories. fjs
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 1 May 2014
By 
Olivarovich (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Forever Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I am a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith, especially his Isabel Dalhousie novels. But I was disappointed to see him venture into emotionally illiterate 'chick lit'. The characters were not particularly well-rounded and the story not gripping enough by the 50th page for me to continue reading. A real shame.
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The Forever Girl: A Novel
The Forever Girl: A Novel by Alexander McCall Smith (Hardcover - 6 Feb 2014)
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