The author of the best-selling and universally adored No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series now gives us The Forever Girl, a novel about love and following one’s heart, and the unexpected places to which this can lead us.
Amanda and her husband, David, feel fortunate to be raising their son and daughter in the close-knit community of ex-pats on Grand Cayman Island, an idyllic place for children to grow up. Their firstborn, Sally, has always listened to her heart, deciding at age four that she would rather be called Clover and then, a few years later, falling in love with her best friend, James.
But the comforting embrace of island life can become claustrophobic for adults, especially when they are faced with difficult situations. At the same time that Clover falls in love with James, Amanda realizes that she has fallen out of love with David . . . and that she is interested in someone else. While Amanda tries to navigate the new path her heart is leading her down, Clover finds, much to her dismay, that James seems to be growing away from her. And when they leave the island for boarding school—James to England and Clover to Scotland—she feels she may have lost him for good. As Clover moves on to university, seldom seeing James but always carrying him in her heart, she finds herself torn between a desire to go forward with her life and the old feelings that she just can’t shed.
Through the lives of Clover and James, and Amanda and David, acclaimed storyteller Alexander McCall Smith tells a tale full of love and heartbreak, humor and melancholy, that beautifully demonstrates the myriad ways in which love shapes our lives.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Smith (Trains and Lovers) sets his latest novel in Grand Cayman's community of wealthy expatriates. Amanda raises two children, Clover and Billy, while her husband David shows " in figures and money and not much else." Though tempted to begin a love affair with local doctor George Collins, Amanda chooses to move to Scotland instead, where she enrolls her children in boarding school. The novel's first half devotes an occasional chapter to young Clover, who asserts that George's son, James, is "the one want." The second half essentially abandons Amanda's story and follows her daughter to university in Edinburgh. Smith makes nothing of that the connection between Amanda and Clover falling for different generations of the same family, and the novel suffers greatly from its commitment to restraint. There is much talk of passion George describes love as "discovering the map that you've been looking for all your life and have never been able to find" but there is little evidence of that passion in the characters. Readers never have a clear sense of anyone's physicality, and Clover's love for James is largely founded on the fact that he is "kind." The prose is cool and reserved, though the story a story of love that leads a woman all over the globe begs for more warmth and intensity.
The Forever Girl
Difficult to maintain the interest level for this length of continuous angst......