What they say:
“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’.”
What we say – review by Jamie Simpson:
Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about what would happen if that old flame from uni returned sending your world spinning all over again? If the answer’s yes, then You Had Me At Hello answers some of the questions and explores the inevitable complications that arise when one of the protagonists involved isn’t free to follow their heart. Seductively straddling two parallel timelines, McFarlane’s debut novel follows the present day travails of Rachel and Ben while regularly dipping back into the past to show how the two met and first fell in love. It’s a deceptively simple device that lends the central romance genuine poignancy and draws the reader ever closer to the two would-be lovers, giving them a warmth and vitality that keeps you rooting for them even when an eventual reunion seems impossible.
There’s a refreshing adult edge to the dialogue, which often fizzes with enough citric spritz to fuel a screwball comedy. An attractive cast of friends cajole, sympathize with and complicate Rachel’s stumbling pursuit of rekindled romance, adding a rich and humorous backdrop made all the more appealing by the story being grounded in the trendy and distinctly contemporary Northern Quarter of Manchester.
This admirably assured novel marks Mhairi McFarlane as an exciting talent to look out for in the future. Witty, engaging and romantic, You Had Me At Hello will keep you enthralled until the final reveal, by which time you will have grown so close to Rachel and Ben that you’ll hope against all expectations that true love will find a way, no matter what adversaries are sent to thwart it. If we didn’t know already, McFarlane successfully proves the truism you never know what a good thing you’ve got until it’s gone.