Leave it to Alexander McCall-Smith to take random vintage photos and weave stories around them. This slim volume is deceiving because within its compact-sized body lies a world of wonder and a world of love. Told in his own enchanting style, these five short stories will leave the reader feeling good about life. My favorite of the five is Sister Flora’s First Day of Freedom where a woman leaves the convent and reenters the secular world. Having spent a good deal of her adult life in seclusion, she sets out to speedily make up for lost time. In Dear Ventriloquist we are treated to a look at carnival life and revel in the private lives and loves of those whose life centers around the big top and midway.
Sister Flora’s First Day of Freedom: a nun in Scotland, the recipient of a legacy, leaves the convent, her home of ten years, with a specific goal in mind.
Angels in Italy: an artist who regrets his behaviour as a young man learns something surprising when reunited with a friend from his youth.
Dear Ventriloquist: a young circus performer’s fortune-telling proves to be unexpectedly accurate.
The Woman with the Beautiful Car: a young man acts in an uncharacteristic way to gain the attention of a lady.
He Wanted to Believe in Tenderness: an old man counts his blessings despite a less-than-ideal life.
Each story is captivating in its own way. Every reader will find something to like within these short stories. McCall-Smith’s charming way with words will mesmerize you. If you haven’t yet read any of McCall-Smith’s series or if you aren’t sure you’ll enjoy his writing style, then this is the perfect book for you. The physical book is nicely sized to tuck into a purse or briefcase (yes, gentlemen, you too will enjoy these stories). I certainly hope the author plans on doing more of these photo stories.
Rating: M M M M M