“The Forever Girl”

One of Alexander McCall Smith’s newest titles is “The Forever Girl.”  The prolific McCall Smith has so many series going that it is difficult to accurately state if this is his newest book. 

“The Forever Girl” is a stand-alone novel, but like so many of his other books, the chief characters are women.  This contemporary story is set in various places around the world:  the Cayman Islands, Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Singapore.  Clover, the daughter of an American mother and a Scottish father, was born and grew up in the Cayman Islands.  She is part of a small community of ex-pats who live on the island.  As a child she formed deep friendships with two other children of ex-pats:  Teddy and James.  At an early age, she realizes that she has deep feelings for James.  These feelings mature into love.  She will be his forever girl.

Unfortuantely, Clover can’t express her feelings for James.  As the years go by, and they both leave the island to go to schools in the UK, she can’t forget her feelings.  Friends tell her to move on, but she can’t.   The few times she crosses paths with James, she gets the feeling that he will never love her because he sees her as a sister.

In the hands of another writer, this plot would be very much like a soap opera.  However, McCall Smith really understands Clover and her inability to forget James.  He has created a fully-formed character, and even though the reader might be thinking, “Come on Clover do something or forget him,” in the end we come to admire her persistence.

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