Monday 21 January 2013

You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane

There's been a real buzz about Mhairi McFarlane's debut novel You Had Me At Hello - amongst bloggers, my bookish friends and in the press.  The e-version shot up the charts and the paperback version is doing very well too and was published by Avon at Harper Collins in early December 2012.

For me, this really makes a perfect read.  Romantic, but far from slushy with a great big spoonful of good Northern humour.  Characters that you instantly recognise because they are so realistic and situations that could have been taken from your very own life.

Rachel is a court reporter, she's been with her boyfriend Rhys for years and years, they are on the verge of getting married when it all goes horribly pear-shaped.  A minor disagreement about what sort of music to play at the wedding reception turns into meltdown and Rachel realises that her life has just been chugging along.   Around the same time, Ben re-appears in her life.    Ben who was her best friend at Uni, who knew her so well and who she hasn't seen or spoken to for ten years.   Ben who still has the potential to make her feel so happy.

Ben is gorgeous, successful ....... and married.   His wife Olivia is gorgeous and successful ...............

Mhairi McFarlane has written a story that is funny, moves quickly and will move your heart.  Rachel and Ben are supported by an amazing cast of friends and colleagues.  The wonderfully colourful Mindy, to the slime-baggishness of Simon, every single one of them are drawn perfectly and add so much to this story.

Mhairi McFarlane
I love the way the story flits back to the character's time at University, I love the one-liners that made me snort with laughter.  I love the characters, the story line and the writing.  I love the Northern slant, living on the Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire/South Yorkshire border, only 40 minutes away from Sheffield, this only added to the realism of the story for me.

There have been comparisons with David Nicholls' One Day.   Whilst I can see the similarities, for me You Had Me At Hello wins hands-down.  I was really disappointed by One Day, not the writing or the story, but I really hated the characters.   Mhairi McFarlane has created two lead characters that the reader really cares about, and identifies with.

Mhairi McFarlane is a freelance journalist and voracious Tweeter who lives in Nottingham.  You can follow her Tweets @MhairiMcF


  1. I loved this book - it was one of my best reads of 2012 !

  2. Thanks for a fab review. I was totally put off by the title and cover, so although I've seen it in shops I haven't even bothered to even pick it up to read the blurb!
    Definitely worth a go if it compares favourably with One Day, which I loved!

  3. This is such a persuasive review! I've heard a bit of buzz about this but must confess I had dismissed it as standard chick-lit fare based on the cover. I felt the same as you about One Day so I'd be interested to see how this compares.


  4. Marie and Angi - I totally understand why you'd be put off by the cover. I must admit I felt the same, it was Josie's review that encouraged me to read it.
    Give it a go - it's great
    Anne x