cover image The Forgotten Affairs of Youth: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel 

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel 

Alexander McCall Smith, read by Davina Porter. Recorded Books, unabridged, library edition, seven CDs, 8.25 hrs., $67.75 ISBN 978-1-4498-2526-3

In this latest installment of McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series, when an Australian philosopher named Jane Cooper comes to Edinburgh, she asks Isabel to trace her family history. Jane knows almost nothing of the woman who gave her up for adoption 40 years earlier, except her name and that she is deceased. Isabel gladly jumps in to help, eventually finding former college friends, boyfriends, and lovers. Narrator Davina Porter—who has read many McCall Smith titles—is, as always, perfection. She rolls out a Scottish brogue and a variety of regional accents, renders an acceptable Australian accent, and creates believable voices for the novel’s many characters. Her voice is soft and smooth, pleasingly musical, and endlessly enthralling. The story doesn’t rely on action-packed thrills or volatile emotional drama, but on the thought-provoking and touching contemplations of Smith’s protagonist—and for this Porter is the ideal narrator, making for a gentle but entertaining listen. A Pantheon hardcover. (Dec.)