* The Forever Girl by Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith has created the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and many other charming ones, including the Isabel Dalhousie series and the 44 Scotland Street series, in which he can riff for hundreds of pages on small, seemingly everyday experiences and make us smile and, often, sympathize with the characters’ weaknesses and experience. And then comes the new  The Forever Girl, featuring a twit and her mother, one not able to see, let alone accept, that the boy she loves does not love her back (alas, absurdly, all ends well) and the other suddenly alienating, divorcing, then remarrying her dull but otherwise seemingly adequate husband. All the beauty of the tropical island on which half the story is based is not enough to rescue the weak plot.


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