Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Review: YOU HAD ME AT HELLO by Mhairi McFarlane

Title: You Had Me At Hello
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 8, 2012
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi Mcfarlane

From the book:

What happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane:
‘Think of the great duos of history. We're just like them.’
‘You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher? ’
‘I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel.’ 
Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away. They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend. Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.

My review:

"Sparkling debut" is the perfect description for this wonderfully-told tale of two former best friends who, after finally getting together in college, had a massive miscommunication that resulted in ten years of estrangement. 

Rachel bumps into her former flame, Ben, and she's immediately catapulted into a web of sticky feelings: He's married - happily so, from all appearances - and she's recently unengaged from her very longtime fiance.  She tries so hard to do the right thing in ignoring her feelings, and moving on with her life...but from the moment these two meet on the page, it's clear that they're meant to be together. 

This novel is filled with quick, snappy dialogue (it's British English, so Americans take note of the British-isms; they may be hard-to-follow if you're unfamiliar with English culture or contemporary British women's fiction). When Rachel's with her friends, the words fly out of their mouths in such a way that I felt as if I was sitting in the room with them. When Rachel's with Ben (especially in the beginning), I could feel the start-and-stop of her inner dialogue.

The ending of this novel really surprised me. Ben's married, and Rachel finally sees that she needs to move on with her life, but the final twist made my heart soar and gave me the elated feeling I'd so hoped to experience. This brilliant read led me to purchase her follow-up novel, Here's Looking at You. If it's even half as humorous, poignant, and heart-warming as this one, I'll be thrilled.

Five stars.

About the Author

Mhairi McFarlane
Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since. (With a ‘V’, not an ‘M’. Yes, that’s us crazy Celts for you).

She is based in Nottingham where she used to be a local journalist and now she’s a freelance writer and sometime-blogger, which we all know is code for messing about on Twitter.

She likes drinking wine, eating food and obtaining clothes; all the impressive hobbies. Her best anecdotes involve dislocating her elbow tripping over a briefcase and a very bad flight to New York. She lives with a man and a cat.

Contact Mhairi:

WebsiteFacebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)