Happy New Year everyone – I hope that 2020 brings you everything you wish for, including wonderful books. And on that note, happy publication day to Mhairi McFarlane whose latest book If I Never Met You is published today as an ebook. And yes, it is wonderful!
This is the story of Laurie and Jamie. Laurie has been with her partner Dan for 18 years, since they were 18 in fact, when out of the blue, he tells her that they are over, that they don’t want the same things (ie kids and marriage) anymore. Reeling from this shock, and with the awkwardness of still having to work in the same lawyers’ firm as him, she is devastated to find out that remarkably soon, Dan not only has another girlfriend but that suddenly he does seem to want these things after all. After being stuck in a lift for a few hours with office Casanova, Jamie, they come up with a plan for a fake romance. Jamie thinks it will help his promotion chances if it seems he is more settled and Laurie can’t help but hope that Dan will realise what he has done and be jealous.
My heart went out to Laurie when her relationship ended and I could easily feel her devastation and bewilderment as she tried to work out just how and when things had gone wrong. Thank goodness she had some amazing friends both in and out of work to support her. Despite the hurt and betrayal Laurie was feeling, Mhairi McFarlane makes sure there are plenty of lighter moments too. She really is one of my favourite rom-com authors and gets the balance between romance and comedy just right.
There are some more serious themes addressed in the book such as the role and treatment of women in the workplace, how social media can be so easily manipulated, and dysfunctional families. Although there are very functional families in this book too actually, notably Jamie’s. Through the character of Jamie, I felt that Laurie, and the reader, learned a lot about not making assumptions about people. As I suggested above, he has a real reputation as a womaniser but as Laurie got to know him more, she realised this perhaps wasn’t fully deserved. I loved following their fake romance and all the things they did to convince people it was for real, as well as seeing how they dealt with unexpected hic-cups!
If I Never Met You is a real treat to get your reading year off to a great start. With characters you will really care about, scenes to make you feel a lump in your throat while others have you giggling out loud, this is a really uplifting book and classic Mhairi McFarlane!
My thanks to the publishers Harper Collins for my review copy from Netgalley. It is available from today in ebook format and the paperback will follow in March. You can order either version from the publishers’ website here: If I Never Met You
From the back of the book
Laurie and Jamie have the perfect office romance
(They set the rules via email)
Everyone can see they’re head over heels
(They staged the photos)
This must be true love
(They’re faking it)
When Laurie is dumped by her partner of eighteen years, she’s blindsided. Not only does she feel humiliated, they still have to work together.
So when she gets stuck in the lift with handsome colleague Jamie, they hatch a plan to stage the perfect romance. Revenge will be sweet…
But this fauxmance is about to get complicated. You can’t break your heart in a fake relationship – can you?
About the author
Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree. After some efforts at journalism, she started writing novels and her first book, You Had Me At Hello, was an instant success. She’s now written six books and she lives in Nottingham with a man and a cat.