Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Armchair Novel Review: The Forgotten Affairs of Youth

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
An Isabel Dalhousie Novel
by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 272 pages
Also available as an eBook and in large print trade paperback. 

I love the Alexander McCall Smith books. They are like a warm sweater in your closet - put one on and your are in a world of cozy.

He may be most famous for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but McCall Smith has several different series, each unique and inviting.

The Isabel Dalhousie novels focus on Isabel - a philosopher in Edinburgh with a tendency to over-think just about everything. In The Forgotten Affairs of Youth she meets a fellow philosopher, Jane, who is visiting from Australia. When Jane asks for help in tracking down her roots, Isabel is eager to help. What results is an investigation, as much philosophical as physical, into the past and what it means to be family.

The usual cast of characters are there: her niece Cat with her troubled decision-making skills, beautiful and somewhat younger fiancé Jamie, spiritualist housekeeper Grace, and Isabel's precocious son Charlie.

Alexander McCall Smith is the king of the character sketch and rarely disappoints. His books are a gentle treat at the end of a long day. A delightful mix of humourous and cozy.

More in the Isabel Dalhousie series:
The Sunday Philosophy Club
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
The Right Attitude to Rain
A Careful Use of Compliments
The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
The Lost Art of Gratitude
The Charming Quirks of Others
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth