Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

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Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Yet more delightful snippets of life from our familiar friends on Scotland Street. Funny and warm, another relaxing read from the wonderful AMS!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: July 2012
Publisher: Polygon
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846972324

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I can hardly believe this is the eighth book about Scotland Street, and it's so nice to just pick up where we left off and discover what's been happening to all our friends. This time we have Angus and Domenica's wedding, Cyril's adventures whilst they're away on their honeymoon, Bruce encounters a rather strange gentleman and of course there's plenty of Bertie to entertain us!

Bertie really is my favourite character in these stories, and I must confess that there were a few times I actually hurried some of the chapters, just to try and get to another part about Bertie. This made me knock off half a star from my review, something that it pains me to do with AMS stories because I do love them so! But in this case I felt the storyline with Matthew, who is coerced into taking part in a Danish documentary film, just didn't hold my attention very well. I was much more interested in how Bertie was dealing with firstly Cyril (who he is supposed to dog-sit for Angus), and then, of course, his awful mother who continues to be so dreadfully awful that you find yourself wanting to call social services to report her as you read!

I found Bruce's storyline very funny this time around. He sometimes annoys me a bit too much, but here he ends up getting a face full of something rather disgusting - I won't say what, but it made me laugh out loud! The man he meets is someone who looks so completely like himself that they end up deciding to swap lives for a little while. I know, sounds ridiculous now I've written it down but when you read it in the story it's totally believable!

There was very little Pat again in the story, which is a shame, and of course Angus and Domenica are away for most of the book. However, the reunion of Angus and Cyril is lovely, as is Angus' poem at the concluding dinner party. As always there are lots of little snippets of thoughts and ideas that sneak into your head and you find yourself mulling them over in the middle of the night. And these characters really seem alive in my mind so that it's reassuringly like meeting an old friend as you read.

The start of the book made me smile as it discusses Domenica's thoughts about hymns for the wedding. 'Jerusalem' was inappropriate, too, Domenica felt, because right at its opening it asked a question to which the answer was almost certainly no. Its first line, stirring and dramatic though it may be, And did those feet in ancient times... invited the firm answer No, they certainly did not, words which could perhaps be set to music to be sung as a descant by the choir. This is exactly how my mum feels about this hymn, and she has told me many, many times!

So, in spite of being not so keen on Matthew's storyline this time this is still a wonderfully warm and funny read. I can't recommend Alexander McCall Smith's books highly enough, and if you're new to him as an author then go and find the first book in each series and settle down for a remarkable, relaxing time of catching up!

Make sure you've read the previous Scotland Street Story, 44 Scotland Street: Bertie Plays the Blues by Alexander McCall Smith before you begin this one!

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Buy Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith at


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