- File Size: 1965 KB
- Print Length: 429 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0063015919
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 24, 2020)
- Publication Date: March 24, 2020
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07TD5CV8S
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,403 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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If I Never Met You: A Novel Kindle Edition
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"Hilarious, warm, and life-affirming."--"Jenny Colgan, New York Times bestselling author, on Don't You Forget About Me" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
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 five books and she lives in Nottingham with a man and a cat.--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
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I had trouble pinpointing exactly why this book didn't work and I think it has to do with the pacing. Half the book is about the details (many of them unnecessary) of her life with Dan and the breakup. Then a quarter of the book is about her dysfunctional relationship with her parents. The last quarter is fun and is about the relationship with the "new man". But even here, there is a choppy feel to it. It is hard to focus on how and why these two are together and should be together cause there is so much extraneous stuff. While reading I kept wondering if this was a “discovery of self” or a romance or a survival story. It turns out a its a bit of each without any of them dominating. The story is a bit all over the place and therefore loses impact
Also, the writing is surprisingly awkward at times: there are awkward backstory data dumps in conversations that sound unnatural and as if the author had simply cut and paste her draft notes about the characters’ backstories. Also, while the fake relationship trope is amusing, there are parts that are just too unbelievable to allow an easy suspension of disbelief: the firm's partners obsession with Jamie's love life or lack of it was just NOT believable and therefore the whole thing sort of crumbles. I was willing to suspend that disbelief because I am a McFarlane fan. New readers might not make the effort and are more likely to turn away after this book and that would be a real shame because almost all her books up to now have been worth the time -- as romances and as comedies and as "feel good” chick-lit.
The strong believable heroine and misread hunky hero make the story believable and interesting. This would make a great Netflix movie - too sexy for Hallmark☺
Although the plot centers around something that starts as a deception, the real story is about rock slid honesty and its rewards. In that way this book is a revelation and a validation. In my opinion this is the authors best book so far. It is certainly the most mature. And it is also a very satisfying romance novel. I highly recommend this book.
Top international reviews
McFarlane is so clever, her vocabulary is a joy and she writes some hilarious scenes - the end of chapter 24 made me laugh out loud in the dead of night.
’If I never met you’ is a joy to read, it breaks your heart and slowly rebuilds it. I never wanted it to end. Actually, Mhairi, I really didn’t - if you can let us know where some of these characters are in their lives in your next book, I’d love to read more!
Buy it and read it slowly or else it will all be over far too soon and you’ll be sad.
Loved ( in no particular order)
- Laurie so great. I thought she dealt with the fallout of the end of her relationship with a lot more grace than most would considering the circumstances. She was funny, smart and felt very genuine from her understandably starting to question everything about herself and her wariness of Jamie. Loved that she came out the other end stronger, sure of the real people worth keeping in her life, and ready to let go of the ones who failed to appreciate her awesome until it was too late.
- Jamie was wonderful. Funny and self assured, cocky at points but cheeky enough for you not hate him for it. There was a lot of depth and vulnerability as well to him which was great.
- Jamie and Laurie together. The evolution of their relationship was handled so well, from sort of colleagues/ strangers to actual friends then possibly more. I love a fauxmance and this one was handled perfectly. Great chemistry and witty dialogue.
- Emily, Nadia, Bharat and Di were great side characters. Emily/Laurie friendship was 😍 and
- The leading lady being a woc. As a woc myself it’s always awesome when you see well written representation in books like this. I personally appreciated that Laurie’s character was so much more than just her race and that even though race was a part of who she was and her story it didnt end up being the entirety of it.
Loved to hate
- Office gossip hell and fake friend groups. This thing where some people think that just because they spend x amount of hours with you at work they are allowed to know every minute detail of your life baffles me. Plus the schadenfreude they have when things go wrong for someone.
- Dan and Michael. Entitled sexist bullying jerks. Honestly if I were Laurie and Jamie l I would have marched the pair of them to HR and made them explain why they thought their behaviour was even remotely acceptable.
As usual from Mhairi an engaging story from start to finish. Definitely a must read.
I am a total sucker for a rom com with 3 dimensional characters, particularly strong women. One of the features I loved most about this book (and this author) is that not only are the main characters well written but the friends and support characters have depth as well. In fact, I would say the friendships in this book are as strong a story line as the romance is.
I agree with another reviewer that it is fairly predictable but also, do any of us chose a book in this genre truly wondering if they'll end up together? Isn't the reasonably certain outcome one of the reasons we enjoy this type of fiction? It is for me.
When you can predict the ending it's even more important that the story and characters are interesting and involving, I find that true with all the books I've enjoyed from the Author; particularly this one and the previous one (Don't You Forget About Me). I am already looking forward to her next offering.
22/03/20 update of Audible book: 3 stars : I love getting books on Audible and having a listen of books I’ve read in print form. They are SO dependent on the narrator though and, this time, the performer ruined it completely. Laurie is portrayed as quite a career / serious / mature girl in the book...but the narrator made her sound like she was in her early 20s...very casual and flippant. She read the book as if she were reading a bedtime story to a 9 year old. Really ruined it for me. It also highlighted how many times the author uses ‘Laurie said’...or...’Jamie said’ repeatedly during the conversational parts of the book..it grated after a while.
Have removed a star from my initial review as a result as have averaged the two mediums.
Laurie is devastated when Dan, her partner of eighteen years, decides to end their relationship and moves out. Whilst Laurie initially thinks this is down to a case of cold feet, she soon finds out that Dan is now in a new relationship with a baby on the way. Ouch. To get back at Dan, Laurie teams up with the smooth talking womaniser from her office, Jamie Carter, who is angling for a promotion, and they agree to pretend they are in a relationship. However, what happens when the lines blur, and real feelings begin to appear in the fake relationship?
If I Never Met You has become one of my top reads of 2020. In true Mhairi style, it was incredibly witty and laugh out loud hilarious. The storyline of Laurie and her partner's break up felt genuine and relatable in 2020. I loved Laurie as a character, and Jamie Carter was a dream. I loved the Northern setting to Laurie's character, and the places they visit - hopefully if I Never Met You will convince more readers that it isn't grim up North!
All in all, If I Never Met You is a book I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a fresh, hilarious take on contemporary fiction. What's even better is that once you have read it, and loved it, you've got even more Mhairi McFarlane novels to catch up on. I'm already counting down to her next book....
These are things that Mhairi McFarlane does brilliantly: she is able to create characters that you care about and root for throughout; she always has friendship at the core of her stories; she's funny; there's a deeper, meaningful layer woven into the plot, and she achieves this time and time again.
She is one of my all-time favourites.
A fantastic book that I’m very sad to have finished!
Having been left slightly disappointed with Don't You Forget About Me, I was delighted to find McFarlane back at her absolute best here. My only slight nag was that the first quarter of the book is more or else entirely dedicated to Laurie's heartbreak over Dan. Given they had been together for 18 years, I completely get the emotional trauma that Laurie must have been going through, and on the one hand, have to applaud McFarlane for not simply going in for the laughs but rather delving through Laurie's emotions sensitively. That being said a bit too much time was dedicated to Dan for me personally, and some of these chapters did get a bit dreary. All I'd say is if anyone starts off feeling the same, stick with it, as after the 25% mark or thereabouts the story takes off and lightens up, as the fake-dating gets underway and Laurie and Jamie's relationship takes centre-stage.
McFarlane writes great leading men, but I have to say that she's outdone herself with Jamie. What I really liked about him is that he isn't what he first seems, and like Laurie I enjoyed getting to know the real him. Whilst he gives off this impression of just being out for himself, he's actually quite sensitive, and there are reasons why he is the way he is. The section of the book where he and Laurie visit his parents in Lincoln, may have been my favourite part, just for the vulnerability that Jamie showed here. He's also completely adorable in the way he's clearly besotted with Laurie, even though she doesn't realise this (and given he may as well have had a sign on his forehead reading 'I'm in love with you,' I did at times feel bad for him that Laurie couldn't see past his reputation as a ladies' man).
The relationship between Laurie and Jamie is an absolute joy to read, with ups and downs and misunderstandings along the way, but what was great was how they supported each other and helped each other through some difficult times.
Laurie herself makes for a wonderful leading lady - she's smart and kind, and the type of person you'd want as your best friend. I like how she gains confidence in herself as the story develops. Again McFarlane does a good job of illustrating the compromises you sometimes end up making in relationships without even realising and what you settle for, and that is something Laurie only realises after her break up with Dan. I also liked the depiction of Laurie's complicated relationship with both her parents, and thought it contrasted well with Jamie's very settled home life - and there were some touching moments involving both their families actually.
I liked the friends in this one too, something I think I complained about with the last book. The dynamic in the friendship groups felt different to what had become a bit of a standardised formula in the last few books, with the strength of Emily and Laurie's friendship really shining through, and I also loved Jamie's best friend Hattie.
There's so much else I could talk about, as actually there's a fair amount of plot. I have to say I thought McFarlane did a great job with her depiction of the Law Firm where Laurie, Jamie and Dan all work, and the misogyny at play.
All in all this was a delight to escape into - warm, funny and romantic (possibly McFarlane's most romantic actually), with astute observations of our modern society. When it comes to ChickLit, McFarlane really is in a league of her own.