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The Quiet Side of Passion

(Isabel Dalhousie #12)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,799 ratings  ·  360 reviews
The new novel from the bestselling Alexander McCall Smith about Isabel Dalhousie--philosopher, moral sleuth, mother, wife--in which Isabel is called upon to help when a paternity question presents more than meets the eye.

Isabel finds herself befriended by Patricia, a single mother whose son, Basil, goes to school with Isabel's son. Isabel discovers that Basil is the produc
Hardcover, First Canadian Edition, 304 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Knopf Canada (first published June 7th 2018)
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Diane Challenor Usually, I'm a cynic when it comes to romance novels; I just can't read them, however, when there is romance within a mystery novel, and it is the com…moreUsually, I'm a cynic when it comes to romance novels; I just can't read them, however, when there is romance within a mystery novel, and it is the coming together of two believable people, then I soften. I can completely "get" Isabel's surprise at Jamie's kind character, and the fact that he loves her. To find a kind man, who loves you, is, I believe, a miracle, hence her surprise at being the one who is on-the-top-of-the-list of the man she loves. It can happen!(less)
Liz In the UK, it came out in July 2020
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Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I see a new book out by Alexander McCall Smith I drop everything else and read it as soon as I can lay hands on a copy. So far I have never been disappointed, not one bit!

The Quiet Side of Passion is book 12 in this series and for anyone like me who started at book one it is like a visit to old friends. We catch up on Isabel and her wonderful Jamie and check that their marriage is doing just fine thank you. We find out that Magnus is walking already and loves his food and that Charlie i
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Isabel Dalhousie is intelligent, highly educated, and a philosopher who admittedly overthinks everything. Why, then, is she so lacking in basic common sense and intelligence as a mother? What mother would hire someone sight unseen to live in their home and care for their two young children? What mother wouldn't check references? What mother, when confronted with incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing, would fail to report the egregious behavior to the agency who placed the au pair with her? And ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my very favorite Isabel Dalhousie novel of all. Usually Isabel dithers a little too much for my taste. She is a philosopher and can debate the smallest things forever. She can debate whether saying Good Morning or Hello is the better greeting for what seems like hours. But in this one, Isabel becomes much more outspoken and, dare I say it, human.

Of course she and her wonderful husband, Jamie, have their hands full. With two small boys, Charlie and Magnus, a full-time job of editing a p
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite book series, although it is not, by far, the most popular series by Alexander McCall Smith. I love Isabel Dalhousie, PhD, philosopher, and thinker. Because so much has developed in Isabel's life since the beginning of the series, I will leave out details that are spoilers. This is a series that should be read from the beginning in order to fully enjoy each and every book.
Isabel edits and publishes The Journal of Applied Ethics. She has inherited the family home in a
“Cat’s life, then, was not an example of the examined life of which philosophers have long written; Isabel’s life, by contrast, was a life lived under a moral microscope.”

The Quiet Side of Passion is the twelfth book in the Isabel Dalhousie series by popular British author, Alexander McCall Smith. Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher, wife to Jamie, mother to Charlie and Magnus, helpful aunt to the ever-demanding (and often selfish) Cat, and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, is feeling the pressu
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I do enjoy reading these, they are not as engaging as the Mma Ramotswe ones, altogether more genteel and insubstantial, but even so, he is stretching the bounds of credibility in the latest one. Isabel Dalhousie doesn't do much, edit a journal, help out in Cat's deli, and stick her nose into people's business, but even such leisurely pursuits seem to overwhelm her, and despite a housekeeper and a house husband, decides she needs more help, and promptly, and I mean almost instantly, hires not jus ...more
Kristi Lamont
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Why do I continue reading this series when I find Isabel Dalhousie so flat-out annoying at times, prone to making impetuous choices and given to going off on tangents, meddling in the affairs of others, and overthinking even the obvious? Umm, have I looked in a mirror lately? Of course, no small part of the appeal is the idyllic life in Edinburgh, complete with a fox in the garden, a nice crisp glass of New Zealand white, and all the exotic cheeses one could ever imagine. And writing like this: ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy the Isabel Dalhousie series. It is one of those book readers either love or hate. I am one that loves the series. Smith has created an interesting twisting plot. Each book in this series provides a discussion of a moral problem/dilemma. The characters are all old friends now. When each new book comes out, I feel as if I’ve dropped by Isabel’s for a cup of tea and a time to catch up.

Alexander McCall Smith is a master storyteller. He is a prolific writer and all his series seem to be quite
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautifully written as always. Isabel was more annoying than normal.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Isabel Dalhousie -- she reminds me of me.
Robert Dunbar
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
"They held one another gently, as we should all hold those whom we love, as we should all hold the world." ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy spending some time in Edinburgh and inside philosopher Isabel Dalhousie's mind. This book (Number 12 in the series) took a new and interesting turn. I loved it that Isabel makes some serious mistakes and misjudgements in this episode. As with Hermione Granger when she finally starts breaking a few rules in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Isabel is much the better for her fallibility. Her encounter with a sort of Leonine Doppelgänger, who is as pushy and interfering as Isabe ...more
3.5 stars. This isn't my favorite AMS series, but I enjoy it enough to continue. I believe I'm caught up to the present tho. This series is a good one to fall asleep to, if you enjoy falling asleep listening to a book, as I do. It won't keep you awake with heart-stopping excitement, but it'll give you a smile and something to think about as you drift off. 💙 ...more
Rachel McMillan
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the Isabel Dalhousie series. I remember when I first started reading them (after loving, of course, No. 1 Ladies' series), I assumed there would be more of a whiff of mystery throughout Isabel's quiet, philosophically musing adventures in the everyday.

There haven't been. But it hasn't mattered. I read the books for the deceptively accessible and extremely competent voice (not to mention McCall Smith's indelibly dry humour), for the colourful cast of characters: Cat and her range of no-goo
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a tad disappointed. This book and the previous one in the series have not been quite as enjoyable for me as the earlier ones in the series. These are very gentle books, and just kind of meander through Isabel’s life in Edinburgh , which is very relaxing. I like the characters, and the way that moral dilemmas are dealt with in the course of everyday life, but lately it seems that Isabel has lost her judgment, and is getting caught up in too many unnecessary situations. Rather than a moral co ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: armchair philosophers of the everyday kind
Philosopher Isabel Dalhousie — that’s literal, not metaphorical as she is the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics — faces a quandary: With her work, her two young children and a sideline helping others, including her self-absorbed niece Cat, Isabel simply can’t get everything done. But Isabel comes up with the solution: an au pair from Italy and an assistant from the university to help out with children and the journal. But how will these two strangers fit into Isabel’s household?

To say any f
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another enjoyable read in this series. You have to like the recurring characters to like the series. Isabel is a philosopher, and is prone to going off in thought even in the middle of a conversation. She also "intervenes" in the lives of others when she believes something needs to be fixed. This time, it is the question of whether an acquaintance is rightfully supporting a child the mother claims is his. Isabel meets the mother at her older son's (Charlie's) nursery school and feels something i ...more
Elite Group
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A blissful summer in Edinburgh with Isabel Dalhousie

In this, the twelfth instalment of the Sunday Philosophy Club/Isabel Dalhousie novels, we find our heroine struggling under the weight of her duties. She now has two young children; a philosophy review to arrange before a looming deadline; a demanding niece who depends on her to help out at her delicatessen, and a large house to run.

She and Jamie, her musician husband, decide she needs help. She recruits Claire, a teaching assistant, to help he
Irene O'Hare
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I got this book for free through Penguin's First to Read program. I enjoyed it in the end but it was very slow going and I found it hard to get through the first two thirds of it. I know McCall Smith is very well liked but I think his style just might not be for me. I found the constant musing over every minute decision to be tedious and thought the main character Isabel was a bit of a pretentious busy body. Once the plot got moving and the musing lessened, I did enjoy it a bit more. I am still ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite Dalhousie book is the one I am reading!! As usual, I loved this story. I felt it had just the right balance between Isabel’s family life and her involvement with a problem. It was very nice to find that Isabel found herself at fault! She rushed into hiring two helpers without setting rules and boundaries. She tried to set matters straight without a proper introduction to the topic. Luckily, it all comes good in the end.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this latest installment. I can so relate to Isabel in that she wants to think she thinks the best of everyone, but she's human and can jump to conclusions which may or may not prove true.

I often nod my head in agreement or laugh out loud at the keen observations on human nature and society Alexander McCall Smith is able to convey in his delightful stories and I could not put this one down.
Denise Spicer
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Isabel Dalhousie in her usual setting, philosophizing, etc. McCall Smith gives his usual thoughtful ponderings. Interesting in a slow-paced, vague sort of way.

Laura Walin
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama
I am always between being irritated and adoring when reading about Isabel Dalhosie, the philosopher. She seems awfully nosy about other people's business to the extent that I find not normal, no matter how well she justifies herself with duty to intervene and other moral imperatives.

In this novel she leaned relatively strongly to the irritating side, prying on the parental status of one of her son's playschool mates as well as speculating on several other relationships in her vicinity. On top o
Heidi Burkhart
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this installment better than the last one. However, it feels like something is a bit out of synch with Isabel. Working at her niece’s deli adds scenes for the story but is unrealistic. Isabel needs a new adventure.
Lucy Aughney
May 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
The most unremittingly boring book I've ever read, nothing happened. ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such an enjoyable series. Isabel may not always be sensible but she is always kind and trying to do the "right thing", which certainly a moral philosopher should be expert at. And things do work out in the end. Characterization very good in these. ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Isabel Dalhousie series has a reflective, lingering effect on me -- so much of this book takes place inside Isabel's head as she ponders events and people's behaviour. She is such a busy person, with her 'Review of Applied Ethics' to publish and a growing family who thrive under her care, so the prospect of hiring an 'au pair' and a clerical assistant SEEMS like a good idea. Things never go as planned though, and she finds herself with additional dilemmas. The gentle humour and kindly, thoug ...more
Genine Franklin-Clark
This may be my favorite series. I love Isabel's ethical ponderings about everyday things, and the gentle, kind thoughtfulness with which she approaches them. The little bits of humor scattered throughout are an important part, too, eliciting an occasional smile where needed. ...more
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this mid-July and started it right away and then put it down for something with more action and less thinking. Thus...I had to start at the beginning again to be able to appreciate this quiet book that spends so much time with the spotlight on Isabel's cogitation over every dilemma facing her own life as well as all others she comes in contact with.
The humour is always there, but subtle. It is an examination of life as we all live it and how we respond to personal and societal proble
Laura Hill
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Writing: 5 Characters: 4 Plot: 3

New words (to me):
• akrasia: the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will.
• tricoteuse: a woman who sits and knits (used especially in reference to a number of women who did this, during the French Revolution, while attending public executions).
• rumbustious: boisterous or unruly
• lactucian : the essence of lettucehood, from Latin lactuca (lettuce) — this is a word made up by our protagonist — but it is a good
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Is anyone else bothered by Isabel's irrational behaviors in this book? 2 13 Sep 27, 2018 09:46AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Isabel Dalhousie (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie, #1)
  • Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Isabel Dalhousie, #2)
  • The Right Attitude to Rain (Isabel Dalhousie, #3)
  • The Careful Use of Compliments (Isabel Dalhousie, #4)
  • The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday (Isabel Dalhousie, #5)
  • The Lost Art of Gratitude (Isabel Dalhousie, #6)
  • The Charming Quirks of Others (Isabel Dalhousie, #7)
  • The Forgotten Affairs of Youth (Isabel Dalhousie, #8)
  • The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, #9)
  • The Novel Habits of Happiness (Isabel Dalhousie, #10)

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