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Sunshine on Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street Series) Paperback – August 12, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 284 customer reviews
Book 8 of 10 in the 44 Scotland Street Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In his Scotland Street series, now in its eighth installment, McCall Smith follows a core group of people, all of whom once lived in or very near the same Edinburgh apartment house (44 Scotland Street). We watch as they do things everyone does, like fix dinner, quarrel, match wits, and fall in love, but also as they do things only people in Edinburgh can, like shop at the farmers market held on Saturdays beneath the volcanic crag of Edinburgh Castle. And McCall Smith does something else here, even beyond what he does in his popular No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. He gives us each of his characters’ points of view, moving deftly from one to the other. So, for example, we often get the point of view of six-year-old Bertie, oppressed son of Irene, who sees her son as a project. Bertie yearns to be 18 and move to Glasgow, forever away from Irene. We also tap into Irene’s brain, her harassed husband’s, and some of Bertie’s classmates, along with Bruce the narcissist, Angus the portrait painter, and Angus’ beloved dog, Cyril. McCall Smith does this very deftly, advancing the action (this latest has a wedding, a doppelgänger, and the continuing adventures of Matthew and Elspeth and the triplet infants) as we learn exactly what characters are thinking of each other and themselves. Humor and insight abound. --Connie Fletcher

Review

"McCall Smith gives us each of his characters’ points of view, moving deftly from one to the other. . . . Advancing the action (this latest has a wedding, a doppelgänger, and the continuing adventures of Matthew and Elspeth and the triplet infants) as we learn exactly what characters are thinking of each other and themselves. Humor and insight abound." --Booklist (starred review)

"A crew that’s endlessly open to adventures while remaining immitigably themselves." --Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series

"Devilishly clever. . . . Often droll, often touching, the Scotland Street stories are always delightful to read." --Booklist (starred review)

“Written with abundant wit . . . [and] equally large dollops of wisdom too.”  —Scotland on Sunday
 
“Sweet . . .  Graceful . . . Wonderful. . . . Gentle but powerfully addicting fiction.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
“McCall Smith’s assessments of fellow humans are piercing and profound. . . . [His] depictions of Edinburgh are vivid and seamless.” —San Francisco Chronicle
 
 “Irresistible . . . Packed with the charming characters, piercing perceptions and shrewd yet generous humor that have become McCall Smith’s cachet.” —Chicago Sun-Times
 
“McCall Smith’s plots offer wit, charm, and intrigue in equal doses.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“The most genial of writers and the most gentle of satirists. . . . [The] characters are great fun . . . [and] McCall Smith treats all of them with affection.” —Rocky Mountain News
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Product Details

  • Series: 44 Scotland Street Series (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345804406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345804402
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (284 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mary Lins TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Who on earth is going to read this review? No one starts a series with Book 8, and if you are already a fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s, 44 Scotland Street series, (and why wouldn’t you be?) you are certainly going to acquire “Sunshine Over Scotland Street” to add to your collection.

Maybe you are reading this because you can’t wait to get the book and you want to make sure that it features Bertie, Olive and Tofu - it does! There is even a scene where Tofu spits down Olive’s neck! That’s worth the price of admission right there, for Bertie fans (and we are legion!) Cyril sees some action and Bruce, the egotistical cad, has quite an adventure. Mathew and Big Lou meet a Danish documentary director, and Irene is as annoying as ever. It’s great! Fans won’t be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
This series is a great favorite of mine and I look forward to every new book; but somehow this episode seemed to be more like treading of water than moving the storyline and its great group of characters forward. There are some funny moments for sure; and the usual cast is all on board, with much of the action in "Sunshine..." focusing on the estimable canine, Cyril. That paragon of loyalty and stoicism finds himself afloat in Edinburgh as his master Angus Lordie and his new bride Domenica are out of the country on their honeymoon. Also included are Bertie Pollock and his mismatched parents; Matthew and Elspeth well-matched parents of triplets; Big Lou, still looking for an appropriate match; Pat MacGregor, filling in at the coffeebar; and Bruce Anderson, feckless as ever, but in cahoots with his gay doppelganger.

So what's missing? Hard to say exactly, but for me, the story lacked the forward movement already mentioned, but also a certain characteristic edginess and bite in its humor. This has been supplied in the past by the Pollock family, but those dynamics didn't raise much dust this time around. Beyond that, the usually funny musings of the cast of characters about the meaning of life, etc. just weren't as interesting. And also in this general context, the disagreeable Bruce who often serves as a badly behaving straw man in line for comeuppance, gets involved in a just plain weird situation that doesn't make a lot of sense.

I might have read this at an off personal moment, and I'm certainly not giving up on the series. Just saying.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the first book from this series that I have read, and now I am going to need to backtrack and get "the rest of the story". Although Alexander McCall Smith supplies enough exposition for the reader to avoid being completely lost in this book, as he has in other series type books he has written, I still want to know more. And, that is the magic of this writer. He makes you want to know all the details about his intriguing characters who call to mind so many people we already know. It is this author's charm, and what draws us back to him again and again.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This series is a great favorite of mine and I look forward to every new book; but somehow this episode seemed to be more like treading of water than moving the storyline and its great group of characters forward. There are some funny moments for sure; and the usual cast is all on board, with much of the action in "Sunshine..." focusing on the estimable canine, Cyril. That paragon of loyalty and stoicism finds himself afloat in Edinburgh as his master Angus Lordie and his new bride Domenica are out of the country on their honeymoon. Also included are Bertie Pollock and his mismatched parents; Matthew and Elspeth well-matched parents of triplets; Big Lou, still looking for an appropriate match; Pat MacGregor, filling in at the coffeebar; and Bruce Anderson, feckless as ever, but in cahoots with his gay doppelganger.

So what's missing? Hard to say exactly, but for me, the story lacked the forward movement already mentioned, but also a certain characteristic edginess and bite in its humor. This has been supplied in the past by the Pollock family, but those dynamics didn't raise much dust this time around. Beyond that, the usually funny musings of the cast of characters about the meaning of life, etc. just weren't as interesting. And also in this general context, the disagreeable Bruce who often serves as a badly behaving straw man in line for comeuppance, gets involved in a just plain weird situation that doesn't make a lot of sense.

I might have read this at an off personal moment, and I'm certainly not giving up on the series. Just saying.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alexander McCall Smith books tend to be wonderful. Okay, some are more wonderful than others, but the 44 Scotland Street series is always a joy. It's like visiting old friends or peeking at a world that's a bit better than the one we inhabit. People are so gentle. Even the dreaded Irene is more comic than vicious. You feel sorry for Bertie while remembering your own flawed parents.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Devoted fans who follow the residents of Scotland Street won't be disappointed by the latest installment. More twists and turns in the stories give every character more than their share of adventure, disclosure and development. Italian lessons, psychotherapy, and the loyalty of a scruffy dog are all revisited but in the freshest manner. What is not to love? New readers will come to love the series and the loyal followers will discover something endearing in each chapter.
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