Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: "You Had Me At Hello" by Mhairi McFarlane

Rachel's life has been perfectly fine since she left college, although perhaps her choices have been a little on the safe side. She's engaged to Rhys, her boyfriend of 13 years, she owns a home and she has a job that she enjoys (for the most part). The pieces of her perfectly ordered life begin to fall out of place on the day that she and her husband-to-be decide to split up- for good. Suddenly Rachel doesn't have a home or a fiancé, but she is determined to muddle her way through the unfamiliar waters. And then comes Ben. All through college Ben and Rachel were inseparable but their friendship ended abruptly on the last night of college. They haven't seen each other in ten years but when they bump into each other at the library one day it's like no time has passed. Ben is married. Rachel is not. And there is a whole lot of unfinished business between them that somehow needs to be resolved if they would like to develop any kind of friendship as adults.

I chose this book off of my bookshelves to read over the holidays because it looked like it would be a light and romantic read. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, You Had Me At Hello managed to surprise me! It was funnier than I thought that it would be with a side of quirkiness thrown in for good measure. Mhairi McFarlane manages to keep it light yet at no point does she dumb her story down as she explores the various kinds of romantic relationships that people have in life. I read several parts that caused me to reflect on my own relationship and the relationships of those around me.

Something that stood out for me while reading You Had Me At Hello was the excellent cast of supporting characters. I especially loved Mindy, who had a colourful and amusing personality. She would definitely be worthy of a story of her own! Too often the friends of the main characters can blend into the background of the story but although Rachel's friends were not the main characters they all had an interesting role to play.

Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was the way that the author kept me guessing right until the end. For a while I thought that the plot was going to go one way, then it made an unexpected turn, and then it veered back again! Although the conclusion ended up being what I thought it would be initially, I definitely enjoyed the journey.

Lighthearted yet thought-provoking, You Had Me At Hello captured me from, well, the word hello. I am definitely a new fan of Mhairi McFarlane and am already anticipating devouring her next novel. My thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing me with a review copy.

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