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.”
Although things are now a bit different at the flats on Scotland Street, they are definitely still interesting. There are changes within all of the characters, but the change that I enjoyed the most was probably with Bertie's father, Stewart. Pat is still living in the flat with Bruce, but since he was fired from his position at the surveying companay, he decides that he will embark on a new career as a wine merchant.
After Pat's experience with Bruce in the first installment of this series, she has resolved with herself that she no longer has any romantic interest in Bruce so she has been able to stay on as a roommate in his flat. She finds herself smitten once again when Peter enters the picture. Once she learns everything she can about Peter how long will that relationship actually last?
Irene and Stewart are Bertie's parents and I remember thinking after listening to the first book "What kind of people just leave their car in another city and forget about it?" Because that is exactly what they did! They left their car in another city for about a year and after arguing about who left it there and where exactly it was, they finally decided to search for the car and bring it home. Irene has been the overpowering mother, planning out Bertie's day from beginning to end as if she were raising a prodegy rather than a young boy. From psychotherapy sessions, saxaphone lessons and yoga class, poor Bertie doesn't have a moment to spare for himself. He becomes horrified to go out in public because his mother seems to think that the best thing for young boys to wear is a pair of crushed strawberry dungarees. He also doesn't want to have any boys come over in fear that they will see the pink bedroom that his mother painted. I couldn't help but rejoice when Stewart finally puts his foot down, which allowed Bertie to finally enjoy being a little boy.
Many other characters return in this novel including Matthew, Domenica, Angus Lordie, and the Dunbartens. It seemed to me that not a lot was happening with these characters in this segment, but some groundwork was laid for some interesting stories to take place for them in future installments. I enjoyed listening to this audiobook and if you are a fan of Alexander McCall Smith you may want to check out this series for yourself.
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library and listened to it for my own entertainment.