Monday 4 April 2016

Who's That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleague's wedding, all the blame falls on her - turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. 
Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical - ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Eliot Owen. Easy, right?
Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn't hear the word 'no' in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.
When the world is asking who are you, it's hard not to question yourself.
Who's that girl? Edie is ready to find out. 

Who's That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane is published by Harper Collins on 7 April 2016 and is the author's fourth novel. I reviewed her first book You Had Me At Hello here on Random Things in January 2013, my review of Here's Looking At You was on Random Things in December 2013 and It's Not Me It's You was published in 2014.

Who's That Girl is a big fat book, my proof copy runs to over 500 pages, but it's such an engaging, well written story that the pages fly by in an instant. I was totally caught up in this story of Edie, her family, her friends and her enemies.

Edie is thirty-five. A Nottingham girl living in London, working as a copy writer and just about to attend the wedding of two of her colleagues. It's fair to say that Edie is fonder of Jack, the groom, than she is of Charlotte, the bride; they have a flirty relationship and once again Edie finds herself in the position of being 'the girl who everyone wanted, and nobody chose.' Until Jack chooses to kiss her, on his wedding day, and Charlotte spots them.

Who's That Girl is the story of Edie's life from that very moment onwards. Mhairi McFarlane creates amazing characters, her lead females are always likeable, realistic, a little bit quirky and fabulous fun. Edie is no exception, not since Bridget Jones, have I come across a female lead who I have liked so much. Yes, she makes huge mistakes, and yes there are times when she refuses to see what is in front of her, but she's a kind and loyal friend, good at heart, just sadly let down by people that she loves.

As in her previous novels, Mhairi McFarlane deals with some sombre and quite dark issues, but she deals with them so very well, working them into the plot line very cleverly which adds a depth to the story. Edie is forced to move back to her home town of Nottingham for a while, she's been away for a long time and whilst her widowed, still grieving and struggling Father welcomes her with open arms, her younger sister Meg really doesn't. Meg and Edie, whilst both in their thirties, revert to teenage, brattish behaviour when they find themselves in the same room together, and it is only the sanctuary offered by eccentric next door neighbour Margot that saves Edie from becoming a sister-batterer!

Oh, and Eliot. Eliot Owen, local boy turned celebrity actor, everyone wants a piece of him, and it's Edie's job to get to the real Eliot so that she can ghost write his biography, and publish it before the gutter press find out his secrets.

Secrets are the theme of Who's That Girl. Every character has some. Edie and her family have long-buried issues that slowly emerge. Eliot has his own demons to deal with, even Edie's closest friends have things that they've been hiding for some time.

Mhairi McFarlane's writing is so observant and modern, she's funny and sharp and her characters are amazing. She is able to capture some of life's most disturbing issues, including cyber-bullying, mental health and depression whilst keeping her story upbeat and at times, quite hilarious.

Who's That Girl is another excellent novel from an author who I really admire. She's writes modern, contemporary fiction that will appeal to all ages. She's very relevant, her characters are incredible. I'd really highly recommend this one.

Huge thanks to Jaime at Harper Collins who sent my copy for review.

Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976 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 four books and she lives in Nottingham with a man, and a cat.

Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @MhairiMcF


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