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The Forever Girl

2.94 of 5 stars 2.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,662 ratings  ·  436 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 idyll
Hardcover, 316 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2014)
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Jane Walker
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
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.
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 ...more
Jane Russo
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
2.5 stars

The Forever Girl follows the love stories (or perhaps lack of love stories?) of a mother and daughter. Amanda, the mother, who has been married for years with two children, slowly realizes that she has fallen out of love with her husband. Meanwhile her daughter Clover falls in love with her childhood best friend, but he doesn't seem to feel the same way about her. That's pretty much the story as this novel follows them through the years of their lives.

First, I really didn't like the way
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
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
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
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.
Ruth Mcauley
'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
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
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!
Rose Spielman
**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
I find I agree with most of the community reviews that gave this book 2-3 stars. It missed the gentle humor of Smith's books and I kept looking for it. With a girl named Clover, I expected a lot of both humor and romance but found it too subtle.

I will continue to look for more Alexander McCall Smith books. I LOVED the Detective Agency video! It is available on Netflix.
Carol Stanley-Snow
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.
Great groans of agony! Two of McCall Smith's three stand-alone novels stink to high heaven (Trains & Lovers was barely better, only because it was short and therefore less of a torment). He needs to give it up and stick to what he excels at: the serial novel.
Janet Long
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.
Sarah Asp
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
I usually enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's books, but this one I found tedious because the main character, Clover, is just so annoying that I wanted to throttle her. For God's sake I thought, make up your mind and stick to it!!

The story begins in the Cayman Islands, where Clover is a young girl living with her parents, who are Scottish and American. She goes to school and meets James, whose parents are also from the white professional class living on the island.

She and James become best friends f
This is the first book by this author that I have read outside of the "No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series. The latter I loved and so had high expectations for this book. It sorely disappointed. It is the story of an expat family living in the Cayman Islands. Dad, David, is a workaholic accountant. Mom, Amanda, has realized that she no longer loves David. Daughter, Clover, has been in love with James since she was 6 years old. There is also a son but he is really not a part of the story.

The st
Story of Clover and James, who knew each other since the age of 6. Clover has been in love with him for many many years....

It really didn't hold my interest, but i kept on reading...and the words in the last few pages made the whole book worthwhile.

Favorite Quotes:

"It was clear to her now. You can love and not be loved in return. You can live without the thing that you want above all else; you can be free of it. We all have to do that; we all have to make a compromise. She would let James go, as
The first two sentences of this book promise the exploration of something most of us have pondered.

I have often wondered about the proposition that for each one of us there is one great love in our lives, and one only. Even if that is not true – and experience tells most of us that it is not – there are those, in legend at least, who believe there is only one person in this world whom they will ever love with all their heart. (p. 1)

On the same page that is followed up by some very good advice:
About a 3.5, which I've rounded up to 4.

Amanda and David are ex-pats living in the Cayman Islands. Amanda is American; David is Scottish. He is employed by an international accounting firm. They have 2 children, Clover (a girl) and Billy. David works hard and isn't around much. Amanda becomes bored and feels attracted to another man. David too feels that he has fallen out of love with his wife.

The other man's son is Clover's best friend. She has a crush on him which he does not appear to recipr
Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel stands on its own, not part of any of his series, and explores a new setting: The Cayman Islands. The story follows two families on Grand Cayman, an odd place awash in money where nearly everyone is from someplace else. Clover and James, children at the start of the novel, practically grow up together, until one day a chill between their respective sets of parents guides them apart.

For most children at that it age, it wouldn’t matter -- each is off to board
Kathleen Hagen
The Forever Girl, by Alexander McCall Smith, Narrated by Susan Lyons, Produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

This is a stand-alone novel that tells the story of David and Amanda, and their daughter, who changes her name at the age of 4 from Sally to Clover and remains Clover ever after. David and Amanda live with other ex-pats on the Grand Caymans in comparative luxury and security. But Amanda falls out of love with David and is attracted to another man. While she doesn’t bring
Jina Howell-Forbes
I read this book because I have liked a book series by Alexander McCall Smith and I wanted to see what he would do with a stand-alone novel.

This has to be among the 5 worst books that I have ever read. The heroine of this story is 12 years old when the book begins and 22 when it ends. During the entire book she obsesses about a childhood friend whom she believes she loves. Obsession is the operative word here. She basically does nothing else for ten years. I have never understood how people can
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thoughts on The Forever Girl 7 125 Oct 25, 2014 08:20PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The " The Forever Girl" review by Sharon Wapen 1 2 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...
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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“something just because everybody” 0 likes
“Because sometimes in this life we’re given things that we don’t deserve – that we haven’t done anything to merit, so to speak. We don’t have to give those up if they come our way. And remember this: plenty of people are better off than you. Inequality is written into the way the world works, no matter how hard we try to correct it.” Miss Hardy paused. “You may be fortunate in one respect and less fortunate in another. Nobody’s guaranteed happiness across the board. Fate has her own ideas of equality.” 0 likes
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