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Publisher's Summary

In the eighth installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling Isabel Dalhousie series, the inquisitive heroine helps a new friend discover the identity of her father. Jane, a visiting Australian philosopher on sabbatical in Edinburgh, has more questions than answers. Adopted at the age of six, she knows little about her father, other than he was a student in Edinburgh years ago. Always up for a challenge, Isabel is more than happy to help.

©2011 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

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Story

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Smitten by Smith once again!

I can never decide which characters I like best in the McCall Smith universe. Is it Precious Ramostwe in Botswana and her #1 Ladies' Detective Agency? Or is it Isabel Dalhousie, detective of a different sort, investigator of the mind and all things philosophical? Or is it Bertie and his well-meaning but dysfunctional parents who are part of the cohort at 44 Scotland Street?

In any case, I love the way this man writes. Slower-paced, reflective and ruminating, but never so indulgent that the reader is driven nuts with impatience. His books are like listening to familiar music - you can savor the slow parts because you know what's coming. And he does it all with an economy of words.

I think this latest is one of McCall Smith's best. It has all the suspense of a true "search for identity" case, mixed with all the usual ambiguities, odd juxtapositions, and perils of the "examined life" that go along with Isabel Dalhousie's life and work as editor and publisher of a philosophical journal. McCall Smith seems to strike just that perfect combination of outward narrative and inner landscape that makes his characters so relatable.

I don't know quite where I'll turn for this sort of literary fun if or when Smith ever retires from cranking out these stories. I know that day is inevitable, but I hope it's not coming any time soon.


15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 02-15-12

Sunday afternoon tea with Isabel

When I read this book I feel as if I at a Sunday afternoon tea with Isabel listening to her accounts of her musings and activities since last we had tea together. It is such a delightful feeling I forget it is a book I am listening to. Davina Porter is great with her slight Scot accent. I enjoy Isabel's philosophical musings and they always get me to thinking also. I had to laugh when Charlie yells out olives in the church during the wedding service. Can not wait for the next book in the meantime I will have philosophical musings of my own about the story line.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • 02-21-16

Love this series

Isabel Dalhousie is an amazing, thoughtful woman, whose philosophic conversations stay in one's mind. i enjoy all the characters .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Forgotten Affairs of Youth

Just can't beat an Alexander McCall Smith listen, and Isabel Dalhousie is still up to her usual interesting life observations.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dale
  • Aurora, CO, United States
  • 01-30-12

McCall Smith is a great voice of many!

What made the experience of listening to The Forgotten Affairs of Youth the most enjoyable?

I like the reader's voice and, of course, following Isabel through another adventure which the darling father of her child wishes she wouldn't!<br/>

What did you like best about this story?

I think the gentleness....

Which scene was your favorite?

Mercy! I should have listened again before answering this...

If you could take any character from The Forgotten Affairs of Youth out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Isabel Dalhousie because she is such a kind soul who is really interested in the<br/>people in her world..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Never read Isabel Dalhousie without Davina Porter

What did you love best about The Forgotten Affairs of Youth?

Isabel Dalhousie's train(s) of thought take us to such fascinating places and amazingly bring together many different experiences into one theme. The smallest incident can take her off in many wild directions; but by the end they have all been tied together and we suddently realize that we have seen the world in a different way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Obviously, Isabel. Being inside her head is an enlightening trip. But is also hard not to choose Jamie. He knows when to follow along with Isabel's diversions and when to let her go her own way. And he is a great Dad.

Which character ??? as performed by Davina Porter ??? was your favorite?

I have never read a hard copy of an Isabel Dalhousie book. Isabel would not be the same experience without the voice, accent, and expressions of Davina Porter.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Have we learned from them [the forgotten affairs or youth], or let them haunt our lives?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Toby
  • West Stockbridge, MA, United States
  • 04-02-12

Too Many Speeches

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I have AMS books but this one seems to be very light on plot and very long on rambling semi-philosophical thoughts.

Would you ever listen to anything by Alexander McCall Smith again?

Yes

Which character – as performed by Davina Porter – was your favorite?

the new girl in Cat's deli

Did The Forgotten Affairs of Youth inspire you to do anything?

no

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I'm a big fan of Alexander & Isabel.

Would you listen to The Forgotten Affairs of Youth again? Why?

If and when I review the entire series.

What about Davina Porter’s performance did you like?

She has become the characters for me.

Any additional comments?

I first fell in love with the #1 Ladies Detective Agency and then moved on from there. Alexander McCall Smith is endearing, but your readers are who keep me coming back.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Teresa
  • Delta, BC, Canada
  • 02-07-12

Very satisfying

Any additional comments?

This was another hit from Alexander McCall Smith. I love all these gentle, sweet, thoughtful stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Isabel never lets me down

This is another wonderful story about Isabel, Jamie and Charlie.
Once again a charming visit with Isabel and the people she tries to help.