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on 1 September 2006
Professor McCall Smith continues his 44 Scotland Street series with a new novel that finds his cast of quirky but endearing characters embarking on new directions in their lives. Matthew is coming to terms with his new found wealth and trying to find his own way in life - and love. Pat too is finding her way forward although her university course in art history, to say nothing of one of her fellow students, are strangely unsettling. Domenica is away from Scotland doing anthropological research among pirates in Malacca, her flat temporarily occupied by historical novelist Antonia whom artist Angus is trying to help (and impress). Pushy insufferable Irene finds she has bitten off just a little more than she can chew enrolling precocious Bertie into a Teenage Orchestra, while her mild and overawed husband Stuart finds a touch of steel to help out a troubled friend of the gang. And best character of all, gold-toothed, coffee and beer drinking canine Cyril is off on an adventure of his own, although not one he would choose...

As with the rest of McCall Smith,s prolific fictional output, this novel is pure pleasure. If some of the events or characters are a tad unrealistic at times or the novel comes within a hairsbreadth of becoming twee, it simply doesn,t matter. McCall Smith writes with verve, a light touch, and a delightful ironic humor while musing about some real and serious contemporary issues. This is an enjoyable and life-enhancing read. Now, where,s the next episode from Scotland Street...
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on 24 October 2006
I have read a handful of the author's books now, and I find that the more I read, the more I want to read. This is yet another cosy and interesting book by McCall Smith that is testimony to his acute power of observation and wonderful ability to tell a good story.
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on 11 May 2007
If you are a regular Alexander McCall smith fan then suffice it to say that this latest offering is definitely up to scratch.Personally i think it is currently the best in the Scotland Street series of novels and he has certainly put more thought and plot development into this one.

For those of you not familiar with Mr McCall Smith's work then i will say that he is not to everyone's taste.He has a very sweet natured,kind hearted but also very laid back way of looking at life.His novels don't have plot developments at the turn of every page;he takes time to flesh out the characters and brings to the surface their little eccentricities which lets face it we all have and whilst doing so creates a rich tapestry of life which is often funny,amusing,sad and moving but always with that philosophical overview which makes the author who he is.

This book sees the same characters that we have got to know and like but he seems to have them all travelling away from Scotland street and getting ito some quite amusing capers (Bertie's adventures are a real gem !)which is a most wellcome treat.

All in all this is McCall Smith at his very best.This is definitely for his regular readers but those new to the Scotland Street series may like to check out the previous two books in the series before reading this one so that you have a better idea of what the characters are about.

A real laid back treat of a novel - ideal for lazy summer days !
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Everyone with a little power seems to have an exaggerated opinion of himself or herself in Edinburgh. But it must be true elsewhere: Love Over Scotland employs such a kindly look at such pretensions that I was able to see myself quite clearly in some of the satirized characters. It's good for the soul to read this book.

If you haven't read the earlier books in the series (44 Scotland Street and Espresso Tales), I recommend you do so before beginning Love Over Scotland.

Academic pretensions are laid out for all to see in Domenica Macdonald's research into the family life of today's Asian pirates. Parental pretensions continue to be best displayed by Bertie's mother, Irene Pollock. Pretensions in love are characterized by Pat who leans towards a romance with fellow art student, Wolf. Angus Lordie's pretensions as a sophisticated man and devoted dog lover are also exposed. Psychotherapists' pretensions continue to be displayed by the muddle-headed Dr. Fairbairn. Writers' pretensions are explored with a new character, Antonia Collie.

The foils for these pretenders are very sympathetic: Bertie is at his independent best; Matthew's money doesn't go to his head as he continues to treasure Pat; and Big Lou shows that loving others isn't always rewarded in the right way. I'm sure you'll identify with them and cheer them on as they fight off the effects of the pretenders.

I liked this story the best of the three. Alexander McCall Smith seems to have let his humor run wild more than in the earlier books. As a result, each little segment is a romp worthy of consideration separately from the rest. I imagined I could hear him laughing as I finished several sections.

The introduction of more themes about love is also an improvement.

At the book's end, there are several promising situations that should provide for additional delicious humor and loving reflection in the next volume of the series.

Don't miss Love Over Scotland!
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on 24 August 2006
Another brilliant book in the 44 Scotland Street Series.

Bertie's back with more ingenious ways to divest himself of his suffocating mother, Irene, and trying to avoid playing Captain Von Trapp in the "Sound of Music" (in lederhosen - Irene's design of course). Irene on the other hand is as neurotic and as committed to the "Bertie Plan" and to Dr Fairbairn's theories of pre-adolescent psychology as she has ever been. The good Doctor, on the hand, is still a bit guilty about his last encounter with Wee Fraser.

Pat once again falls in love with an unsuitable lupine character and Matthew invests in a hideous pair of crushed strawberry corduroy trousers (not crushed strawberry dungarees - that's more Bertie's (or rather, Irene's style)) and a "distressed oatmeal" jumper. Cyril's fondness for human ankles and the smell of sun-dried tomatoes continues along with Angus Lordie's devotion to him. Angus himself is missing Domenica who is pirate-hunting in the Antiopdes but has lent her flat to her friend, Antonia, a mid-6th century Scottish saint fancier and novelist. Big Lou and Lard O'Connor shake hands over a business deal and Stuart comes out of his shell a little bit (at least when Irene's not around). The only downside is that ever-preening Bruce is missing from the story.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2007
The third in the 44 Scotland Street series, this book describes the continuing adventures of the well-to-do residents of Edinburgh's New Town. I live in Edinburgh myself and the characters, whle humorously exaggerated, are most definitely recognisable.

The chapters were originally published as daily columns in The Scotsman newspaper and are therefore a perfect length to fill an idle moment. But very much like a box of chocolates you will want one more...just one more...

My favourite strand is the one about six-year old Bertie and his hideously overbearing mother Irene. Irene forces Bertie to join the Edinburgh Teenage Orchestra and many adventures ensue. I also loved the way Alexander McCall Smith parodies the TV programme about finding a Maria for the Sound of Music with a related story at Bertie's primary school.

One weakness is the loss of the comically ghastly Bruce but I still had to give this book five stars as it was a delight to read.
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VINE VOICEon 17 December 2008
This is the third instalment of Alexander McCall Smith's tales of "Scotland Street". In my opinion far better than the second and as good as the first. As a new reader; although the story maybe a pleasant sojourn around Edinburgh (Paris & Malacca Straits) with these characters; prior knowledge of Pat, Matthew, Big Lou, Domenica, Angus and the delightful Cyril, help you understand the book a lot more.

And if you have never read about Irene and Bertie, then you are missing a treat. Six year old Bertie shines through in this book (as previous ones) when his mother makes him join a Teenage Orchestra (yes he is only six) and they embark on a trip to Paris. Bertie gets to see what it is like without his controlling, condescending mother Irene. Whatever happens to Bertie, he learns from it and comes to no harm. Unlike when he is in the care of Irene and she insists despite her developing pregnancy that the "Bertie" project must continue.

I have been somewhat lacklustre of my like of Pat, but she has shown some hidden depth (not much but some) and becomes a more likeable person to read about. Matthew her boss continues to admire her from afar and really does not see a way to her heart but then an opportunity arrives to save Pat from a `Wolf'.

Angus and Cyril make a peculiar duo. McCall Smith shows the love of a man and his dog, especially when Cyril goes wandering. Cyril is treated almost as a human by Angus but also McCall Smith. We see his adventure though a dogs eyes and nose and at a dog level. A clever trick.

Angus' friend and Pats' former neighbour Domenica, takes the action away from Scotland Street, Edinburgh and Scotland to the Malacca Straits where she embarks on an anthropological study of pirates. McCall Smith paints a fascinating place full of intrigue and ordinary people but also shows us the reader not to forget that pirates are not all "aye Jim lad" and resemble Johnny Depp but folk just living a different life than our own, rightly or wrongly.

Overall, this third book was heart-warming and a good read. You do not need to dip in and out of the book it holds you to keep finding out more about the lives of these characters.

Will seek out book four and hope it lives up to my expectations set up by this book.
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on 11 September 2011
I have no idea why I picked up 44 Scotland Street in the first place, it has no characteristics in common with my "standard" read which is generally a historical blood and guts thriller. Yet here I am, having finished this volume, the third book in the series, and on to my fourth (The World According To Bertie).
Maybe I'm just waiting, indeed hoping, for Irene to be run over my a bus, or perhaps it's a subconscious empathy with Cyril. The characters, and their largely plutonic relationships ebb and flow, life carries on, human frailty and indecision is explored, and for some reason you just have to continue reading. The author does gently educate with some odd "did you know that..." facts woven into the fabric which tend to catch the eye and which I enjoy. Yet, there's no identifiable plot direction to guess at, or that you even hope will unfold by volume five, apart from the violent demise of Irene that is.
I suggest you forget Love Over Scotland, for now, and that you make the mistake of picking up 44 Scotland Street. You'll start at the beginning, you'll be hooked, and you'll be left wondering how the addiction ever set in.
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Everyone with a little power seems to have an exaggerated opinion of himself or herself in Edinburgh. But it must be true elsewhere: Love Over Scotland employs such a kindly look at such pretensions that I was able to see myself quite clearly in some of the satirized characters. It's good for the soul to read this book.

If you haven't read the earlier books in the series (44 Scotland Street and Espresso Tales), I recommend you do so before beginning Love Over Scotland.

Academic pretensions are laid out for all to see in Domenica Macdonald's research into the family life of today's Asian pirates. Parental pretensions continue to be best displayed by Bertie's mother, Irene Pollock. Pretensions in love are characterized by Pat who leans towards a romance with fellow art student, Wolf. Angus Lordie's pretensions as a sophisticated man and devoted dog lover are also exposed. Psychotherapists' pretensions continue to be displayed by the muddle-headed Dr. Fairbairn. Writers' pretensions are explored with a new character, Antonia Collie.

The foils for these pretenders are very sympathetic: Bertie is at his independent best; Matthew's money doesn't go to his head as he continues to treasure Pat; and Big Lou shows that loving others isn't always rewarded in the right way. I'm sure you'll identify with them and cheer them on as they fight off the effects of the pretenders.

I liked this story the best of the three. Alexander McCall Smith seems to have let his humor run wild more than in the earlier books. As a result, each little segment is a romp worthy of consideration separately from the rest. I imagined I could hear him laughing as I finished several sections.

The introduction of more themes about love is also an improvement.

At the book's end, there are several promising situations that should provide for additional delicious humor and loving reflection in the next volume of the series.

Don't miss Love Over Scotland!
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on 19 March 2009
A joyous addition to the 44 Scotland Street series, which allows us to catch up with developments in the lives of our "friends". Domenica embarks on an adventure (with a delicious twist) causing problems for Angus. Bertie embarks on an adventure of his own. We continue to wonder if Big Lou will ever find true love, and follow Pat in her quest for true love.

Written with his characteristic warmth, humour and deep understanding of human nature Alexander McCall Smith has provided us with another heartwarming slice of life. A very satisfying read.
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