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The Forever Girl

2.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,888 Ratings  ·  598 Reviews
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 idyl
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2014)
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Jane Walker
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I adore Alexander McCall Smith, and have read and reread almost everything he's written. I've stood in
a long line to hear him speak and I greatly anticipated reading this newest, stand alone novel.

But it's far from a favorite.

Both Amanda and Clover struck me as surprisingly unappealing characters; Amanda being self absorbed
and Clover annoyingly unformed.

Only his short stories have ever disappointed before. Missing are the worthy, self-deprecating sorts who
usually people his books. There are so
Apr 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
A pathetic story with pathetic characters. Nothing like the musings of gratitude of Precious Ramotswe or the philosophical ponderings of Isabel Dalhousie, two of McCall Smith’s endearing series characters. Not a whit of the author’s usual self-deprecating humor. And for the reader who naively and desperately wanted to believe that the destination would justify the journey (that would be me), a climax that beggars belief. Bleccch.
Jane Russo
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Absolute drivel. The characters are so insipid, I think if they were real and I met them I would drop dead from utter boredom. We are supposed to think that Clover is so clever because she named herself, that it about the only thing the girl every did!!
She wasted her entire life mooning over a boy that she never even told how she felt, and then apparently he's the male version of her. They deserve each other.
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Forever Girl is the third stand-alone adult novel by Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith. New Yorker Amanda meets Scots accountant, David, they fall in love and marry. David’s work takes them to Grand Cayman, where they live among other ex-pats, Caribbean islanders and native Caymanians. They have two children: Sally, who renames herself Clover at four years of age, and Billy.

Australian Alice and English doctor George live nearby, and their son, James goes to school with Clover at Cayma
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
It saddens me to give a McCall Smith novel only 2 stars, but this comes no where close to his other works. I am not questioning his writing style, as always it was well-written with his trade mark observations on everyday life. I just didn't find any of the characters particularly compelling and the ending an absolute disgrace! I believe he tried to write this with the same charm that he uses with the Isabel Dalhousie series, but sadly, it failed miserably. I love this author but this book just ...more
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is different from AMS's other books, but it still has the gentle contemplativeness that I so love. His characters are never larger than life, but people that you feel you know. And the way he always describes Edinburgh, with so much love and understanding, which make me want to live there. Every time I read one of AMS's books I feel that everything is alright with the world.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Despite what some reviewers have written, I found this to be a charming, soothing book. AMS's writing has that effect on me. It's almost like going to therapy! While I don't want to give away the outcome, I will say that I am in Singapore while reading the book, staying here for a 6 week annual visit. Coincidental, for sure, but giving the story more reality for me. One thing that readers should keep an eye out for are some very wise life statements within the book that are not emphasized in any ...more
Daina Jaeger Mundt
While the plot line was simple, and not an uncommon one when it comes to romance novels, McCall Smith's style came through, making this novel a great read. The way in which he addresses human nature by including ideas we all have at one time or another, make this story one that reaches out to everyone.
Ruth Mcauley
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
'She reached out and touched Clover's hand..."I think you may be in love with the idea of a boy rather than with an actual boy"

Clover has been infatuated with James, her childhood friend, since she was six years old, and doesn't know how to give up, despite harbouring a strong conviction that her love is unrequited and will never be returned. This book follows her through her life for over fifteen years as she tries to learn how to deal with the pain of love that will be forever unreturned.

I lo
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Amanda and David, expats from the U.S. and Scotland respectively, live in the Grand Cayman Islands with their daughter Clover and a son who plays such a nominal role that I’ve forgotten his name. As a child, Clover becomes infatuated with her friend James. The plot focuses mostly on Clover’s love for James, which continues through adulthood despite that James often goes out of his way to avoid her and shows no sign of returning her devotion.

The only character I found really compelling was the Au
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Alexander McCall Smith is usually one of my favorite authors but the last two books of his I have read (this one and Trains and Lovers) have been a disappointment. The characters were just a bit too much on the passive bordering on pathetic side.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
I was disappointed in this book by McCall Smith. I like Smith's subtle humor in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and the Isabel Dahlhousie series but there is very little humor in this book. Also, nothing really happens except a bunch of rich expats wander the globe pining for love. Pretty lame and the end was even lamer. Definitely should not have finished this one!
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-fiction
It pains me to give a McCall Smith novel only 2 stars, but he's set the bar high with his other works. As always, this was well-written, with the quiet, wise observations on everyday life that are a hallmark, but I didn't find any of the characters particularly compelling.
I read novels
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Forever Girl would Make a very good mother's present. I have never read The no 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. This is my very first novel by Alexander that have I read. I am very glad that I have read this stand alone heart-breaking novel. I enjoyed reading The Forever Girl from page one up to the very end. I just could not put this novel down. I hope that Alexander McCall Smith will publish more stand alone novels in the near future sometime. The
Forever Girl wa
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, I really enjoyed this one!
Rose Spielman
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
**spoilers** Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite authors. His way with words and true art of description, making things completely understood by saying it in a way I would be unable to think of, is amazing. And he can write from a female perspective better than some females! (Lol). That's why I was absolutely thrilled to get it from the Goodreads giveaway of The Forever Girl!

Unfortunately...I did not really care for this book. The characters are awful! The book begins by being with Ama
Janet Long
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a sweet love story, and it is also a story that gives you a lot to think about. When I finished, I closed my book, hugged it to me and sighed--and it's been a long time since a book has done that to me.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
The Forever Girl is the parallel story of Amanda & David and Clover & James. Amanda and David have been married for quite a while; they're in their 30s and have two kids and a comfortable life in the Cayman Islands. One day Amanda realizes that she's simply fallen out of love with David. There's no acrimony; just apathy. At the same time, Amanda's daughter Clover realizes that she's in love with James, the "boy next door." (He's actually a few doors down, but they've grown up together an ...more
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-scotland
The 3rd installment of HarperCollins modern Jane Austen series will be Emma, written by Alexander McCall Smith. I hadn't heard of him before, but I have enjoyed reading interviews with him for that book and for "The Forever Girl". Also Mary Jane Hathaway, the author of the delightful "Austen takes the South" series("Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits", "Emma, Knightley, and Chili-Dogs", and the upcoming "Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cranklin' Cornbread"), is a big fan of his. So, I decided ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
The pacing of The Forever Girl was painfully slow, but it was meant that way, to force the reader to participate in the ultimately baseless frustrations of the protagonist. I admit, if Alexander McCall Smith wasn't already a favorite author, I wouldn't have gotten past the first few chapters, and surely would have given up in the interminable last third if I had made it past the first few. But I would have missed out on a lovely novel.

This is a gentle exposition of the value of enduring, faithfu
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Hmm. Well, I don't know. It's as though this book was an afterthought for McCall Smith, whose work I usually really enjoy. His characters are often well fleshed-out and relatable; in this book, I honestly had no idea who I was reading about. Ok, Clover loves James...but why? We know nothing about him. We are told he's marvellous but are never shown why or how.
Clover starts off being reserved and guarded...but doesn't really evolve much. She just becomes mopey and sad and incredibly ungrateful f
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: popular-fiction
I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I enjoy the No. One Ladies Detective Agency series. This book shifts perspective from Amanda in the first half of the book, to her daughter Clover in the second half. I thought the character Amanda was a selfish and spoiled rich woman who had it all, but was not satisfied. Her daughter, Clover, turns out to be a bit neurotic, falling in love (or the idea of love) with her childhood friend James. As Clover and James grow up, they each go off to school an ...more
Lynn Pribus
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
The two stars say "It was OK." Well, barely. An excellent example of why I should have checked in here before starting this CD set I borrowed while awaiting A GOD IN RUINS (which I now have and which certainly makes anything suffer in comparison.)

This tedious little offering, possibly meant as beach-lit, is set in the Cayman Islands, Scotland, Australia, and other spots in the world. Perhaps Smith was vacationing various places and wanted a tax write-off. (No idea if Inland Revenue has deduction
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels-finished
This is the story of a mother and daughter. Amanda, the mother, who has been married for years with two children, realizes that in one moment, she has fallen out of love with her husband. Her daughter Clover falls in love with her childhood best friend, but he doesn't seem to feel the same way about her. This is what I would call a "gentle" read. It's slow, but I kept reading -- but the resolution was almost like the author got to the final page and realized he had run out of paper. Need to fini ...more
Nancy H
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this story. It is very different from Alexander McCall Smith's other works, and I guess I was expecting something similar to what he usually writes. The story line was okay, but it seemed to linger too long (in my opinion) on the angst of an unrequited love that affected the main character's life for years. As such, it was a good story of what happens to a person in those circumstances, but I found myself wanting to say to the characters, "Just get on with it!" I did, howev ...more
Sarah Asp
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn't love this book and it was a disappointment. McCall Smith is my favorite author and so far I've loved all his books and I own at least 20 of them, maybe 30. Anyway I never thought it was possible that I could feel this way about one of his books. I didn't really like any of the characters and if I don't feel a connection to at least one of the characters then I find a book hard. They just were boring. And there was almost a complete lack of humor which is one the things I treasure about ...more
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
You tag along with Clover as she follows James around the globe--a different girl at his side for each different place. He is oblivious to Clover's love and then all of a sudden accepts her at the end? Did I miss something? What changed? No explanations. Weird. Weird book. The whole premise of this book is no one gets what they want. So what changed at the end? I think I may have slept through many of the last 3/4 of the story.
Linda Wells
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite writers. I love the Isabel Dalhousie series and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. The Forever Girl was good, with beautiful writing and themes, but the book became slow, even though I loved the colorful narrative and vivid settings, as the characters travelled from the Cayman Islands, to Scotland and Australia. The true to life love stories and great writing made it a worthwhile read.
Carol Stanley-Snow
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Smith has an uncanny ability to delve into the human mind/soul and hit upon all that is so true of us all. He describes his characters from the inside out and knows exactly what they are feeling and what is going through their heads.

His narrative flows along flawlessly and you take this wonderful journey along with him.

These characters have all sorts of ups/downs, heart delemmas (sic) and in the end...well, you'll have to read the book.
Denise Tarasuk
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Forever Girl is heart warming and beautiful. Alexander McCall Smith is such a wonderful story teller. He keeps me wondering how he does this, yet again. The story drew me in. The characters are so alive; I feel as though I knew them. I looked forward to an evening with The Forever Girl and turning the pages. You will too!
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thoughts on The Forever Girl 7 128 Oct 25, 2014 08:20PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The " The Forever Girl" review by Sharon Wapen 1 3 Jul 28, 2014 01:12PM  
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...
“something just because everybody” 0 likes
“..what moved me was that I had found something I didn't think could exist. And that thing - the thing that I found - was very simple. Most people know all about it and have never really doubted it because their lives have been such as to give them a glimpse of the thing that they were not sure about, which is love, of course: the sheer fact of feeling of love for another, of finding the one person - the only person, it seems - who makes the world make sense. It's like discovering the map that you've been looking for all your life and have never been able to find - the map that makes sense of the journey.” 0 likes
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