The World According to Bertie, by Alexander McCall Smith

Fourth in the series, following Love Over Scotland.

Another lovely read. Maybe not quite as good as the predecessor - the stuff here about Big Lou's boyfriend's Jacobite society wasn't that interesting, and the story about Domenica's friend Antonia was a little weak. But the other characters - Pat, Matthew, Angus and Bertie - were all developed well. And Bruce comes back, and is as insufferable as before.

He seems keen on Auden (I reckon Severin might like these books) and there's a nice couplet that's quoted when Domenica suggests a name for a painting that Angus is thinking about starting

'Do you have a title for it yet?'
Angus shook his head. He had thought of it simply as Kindness, but he knew that sounded a bit weak, a bit too self-explanatory.
'In that case,' said Domenica, 'I suggest that you call it Let the More Loving One,'
Angus frowned. 'Let the More Loving One ?'
Domenica turned away from the stove. 'It's a line from Auden,' she said. '"If equal affection cannot be / Let the more loving one be me."'
They were both silent for a moment. Behind Domenica, the pot on the stove simmered quietly; there was a square of light on the ceiling, reflected off window-glass, shimmering, late light. Angus thought: yes, that is precisely the sentiment. That's it exactly. That's all we need to remember in this life; two lines to guide us.

A couple of minor plot cliffhangers towards the end of the book, so it'll be interesting to see how things work out with Bruce and Matthew in the next one (which is ready to go). Maybe I shouldn't rush through them so quickly but it's hard to resist - they're such pleasant and warming books to read.

Completed : 28-Jun-2009

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