My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 345
Publisher - Abacus
Source - Amazon
Blurb from Goodreads
44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 2
The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.
Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.
Full of McCall Smith’s gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, “make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”
If you haven't read book one you really need to so you get the background and introduction to all of the characters. We pick up on this one where we left off in book one. Following the tales of poor wee Bertie and his insufferable mother. Bruce, lost his job as a surveyor, is a looker/charmer and knows it, he now is turning his luck to the wine business, what could go wrong. Pat is trying to get it together but still a bit standoffish after her experience with Bruce but her old pal Domenica won't let her stand in her own way. And Matthew, still working away in the art gallery but with the good influence of Pat he is actually turning a profit and has found something he likes and is good at. We see a wee bit more of him and his relationship with his dad.
Whilst all of the characters get a crack of the whip there is no doubt wee Bertie is the bigger focus in this book. Still being dragged to therapy by his mother, a pink bedroom and those pink dungarees, she can call them any colour she likes, they are pink. Bertie is only six but advanced for his years and the poor wee mite is having some time of it.
Humour throughout and poking a wee bit of fun at Edinburgh, Smith brings to life the characters and makes you want to go page after page to see what is coming next. Friends meets the big bang theory with a few other echos of similar shows, the characters are across the age range so I think there is something for everyone. Despite Bertie being a bairn his story, certainly in this book was the one I most wanted to read more about, 3.5/5 for me, I will be buying the next in the series.