The Peppermint Tea Chronicles: 44 Scotland Street Series. Alexander McCall Smith. Anchor Books: A Division of Penguin Random House. October 2019. pb, 336pp.; ISBN #: 9781984897817.
Welcome to summertime in Edinburgh, Scotland. The residents of Scotland Street are financially comfortable and for the most part sociable. They have their ups and downs in life which are depicted herein in a mild manner. They mirror everyday life anywhere. They have discussions which make readers think from a more sensitive point of view than those opinions quickly glossed over elsewhere. The title refers to a refreshment occasionally shared when one is having an intimate but important conversation about something very meaningful to those partaking.
Stuart is sharing that tea with a young woman Katie. Stuart’s wife is away, studying for a Ph. D. but also deliberately away from her marriage. So Stuart finally gives himself permission to enjoy life and his son Bertie has the same new feelings. He and his best friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson take a jaunt to a local circus and wind up returning home with an unexpected gift. One of the issues on Scotland Street is freedom, that freedom to do what is best for one’s self and for one’s neighbors. So Big Lou, who runs the local coffee and pastry shop, has a foster son who loves and has a great talent. So she will do what she can to foster that love and freedom to nurture a career that’s loved, no matter how shocking it appears.
The wife of another couple, Delmonica, finds great joy in shopping for new clothes for her husband, Angus, which he doesn’t notice so accustomed is he to dress mindlessly.
Another woman loves living in the country but finally admits that even though she has small children to care for, she is lonely and yearning for more in life. These are just a few of the delightful scenes accompanied by intriguing and stimulating conversations that lead to new situations and that are guaranteed to engage readers as well as yearn for more of the same. There are also numerous witty exchanges that add to the realistically funny side of lives on Scotland Street a/k/a in our lives.
Lovingly crafted, enchanting contemporary fiction read with enchanting characters you will feel are like perfect friends!