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on 23 August 2015
Brilliant book. Very engaging read. Would recommend.
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on 2 August 2006
This is a great read!

My reaction to the first book in this series was luke warm, partly because I did not feel that the lead characters had been particularly well developed and partly because the mystery was not sufficiently mysterious! However, this second instalment is a huge improvement and I enjoyed it very much. Isabel was presented as very likeable, honest and intelligent. The way she handles her feelings for Jamie make her seem very real.

There remains a philosophical thread to the story but it was subtle and interesting, as opposed to the rather name-dropping and slightly pretentious style of the first book. The storyline in "Friends, Lovers and Chocolate" is original and reflects recent scientific study into the unexpected effects of transplantation on the recipient. You get a real sense of excitement as the mystery unfolds.

The story moves along quickly enough to satisfy your need to know what happens next yet does not rush along like a cheap crime thriller. It shows intelligence but not affectation. If you are a fan of Mr McCall Smith I recommend that you read this book, regardless of whether you enjoyed "The Sunday Philosophy Club".
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Isabel Dalhousie is standing in for her niece, Cat, at the delicatessen. While she is working there she gets into conversation with a man who has had a heart transplant and is plagued by visions of a man he does not know. This intrigues Isabel and she sets out to find the cause of them which seem to be linked to the transplant. Cat returns to Edinburgh bringing a fascinating man with her. Naturally Isabel can't resist interfering - for all the right reasons.

This book grew on me. As with the first book in the series, it is a gentle intriguing mystery with plenty of philosophical speculation and conversation. I love Grace - Isabel's dour housekeeper - who has become interested in a man she has met at her spiritualist meetings. Some may find the philosophy in this story a little boring but I found it made me stop and think about things I had never spent much time on before.

I enjoy listening to this series in audio book format as they make the listener slow down and think about what they are hearing. I suspect Isabel is a character you either love or hate and I love her. She blunders in where angels fear to tread and frequently get things wrong but there is still something endearing about her. This is the second book in the series.
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on 24 July 2012
Sadly, not to my taste, I found this a disappointing read but with a title such as this how could I resist?

Rambling at best, incoherent at worse, I'm afraid to say I even found the supposedly philosophical tone of the book to be quite moralising, many of the characters (especially main character Isabel) pompous and patronising.

And that wasn't the worst of it. Largely unbelievable, suspend disbelief all ye who turn these pages, with several strands to the story, the author kept unexpectedly going off at a tangent often leaving threads abruptly and without conclusion.

Perhaps best read after The Sunday Philosophy Club, part one in the series. Hmm, maybe but I suspect not.

[[ASIN:0349118043 Friends, Lovers, Chocolate: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel: The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie Novels)]
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on 22 September 2009
I don't even know what hasn't been said over and over before and in very eloquent words; for me it's just that:
A new book of this series comes out, I buy it ASAP and I don't read it, I DEVOUR it!!!! Well written, fluid, with the occasional insights into the mind of Alexander McCall Smith and his philosophical views, so well expressed as Isobel's thoughts.... McCall Smith expresses often what I feel and think but HE does it in such an eloquent fashion that my head keeps nodding without me noticing it! Get all the Dalhousie novels - you will have no regrets.
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on 14 August 2010
Another enjoyable and easy read from the life of Isabel Dalhousie, Edinburgh resident and editor of the Journal of Applied Ethics. Though, as with the others in the series I have read [based on their availability at my library I read 1, 4, 5 and now 2...:], there are many times I stop to ponder ethical decisions in my life based on what I read in Isabel's life.

A good, fun series, with characters readily identifiable as 'real'; they have faults as well as virtues.
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on 2 June 2015
Gentle, thoughtful and intelligent. As always, these books are great medicine at times when comfort is required. Are you feeling vulnerable or shaken or hurt? Curl up with a Isabel Dalhousie book and you'll feel much, much better. They are all much the same, an intriguing little tale interwoven with thought provoking ideas on life. To do with senses and feelings and perceptive observations, Charming and humorous.
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on 24 January 2014
Another gripping and funny episode in the lives of Dear Isabele, Jamie, Cat, Eddie and assorted regulars, not forgetting Bro Fox. McCall Smith continues to delight his readers with his insights into life, love and all things Scottish. Enjoyable even for the beginner of McCall Smith readers. Even better than the first book in the series (The Sunday Philosophy Club) I think
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on 23 July 2009
A.M.S. has come up with another fascinating slice of Edinburgh life. His characters are rounded and interesting, even if some of the situations they find themselves in are a little unlikely!! You know what to expect from his books, and you will not be disappointed. It is well written, and well plotted and the characteres are engaging. What more can you ask for??
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on 5 October 2011
Isabel Dalhousie pursues 'issues', involving herself in the lives of friends and family in the village that is Edinburgh. Her efforts to solve the metaphysical problems of a heart-transplant recipient play out alongside her preoccupations with a younger man-friend and, briefly, an exotic visitor. A pleasant read.
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