At the start of the year, I set myself a challenge on Goodreads to read 50 books. I’ve never done a reading challenge before so I thought 50 was a good number to start on, though hopefully I’ll read more! My most recent read (at least up until yesterday, but my review of that book will be up soon!) was If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane.
As well as my Classics Challenge reading list, I made a note of other books I wanted to read and this one – along with another book of McFarlane’s – was on there. I didn’t really know much about the book at all but I loved the art on the cover and the colour of the cover, too, so that was enough to get my excitement up.
When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling. A chance encounter in a broken lift with the office playboy opens up a new possibility….
This book was one of the books I bought on my Kindle on a whim (though, now I think about it, my book buying has been vital in keeping me sane during these trying times!). I didn’t really know what to expect, given the fact that I don’t tend to read Kindle summaries of books (I just assume they’re right in saying “you’ll like this book”), other than the fact that it’d probably be some sort of cutesy romance book based on the cute illustrated cover. (Again, don’t judge a book by its cover).
I think it seems to be a recurring theme in the books I’ve read recently that the characters all don’t necessarily have perfect lives (gasp, shock, horror). I’m so used to reading the cliched books full of rich girls and spoiled boys that it’s great to read books like this.
Laurie is a successful lawyer, but she’s also sassy and smart and vulnerable. I loved watching her character develop as the story went on and really felt for her in various parts of the story. Jamie is also a successful lawyer and he fits the stereotype of being Fit, Successful and A Little Bit of an Arsehole. Though, as I kept on reading, I – like Laurie – realised that there’s so much more to Jamie than first thought.
I loved how McFarlane portrayed relationships in If I Never Met You. I’m somewhere in the middle of a full blown romantic and a complete cynic so this book appealed to me greatly, as it played to both sides. Whilst we did have the breakdown of one long relationship, we also had the beginning of another…even if it’s fake. I never usually like reading the fake relationship trope but I ate this one up!
I also loved how, through Laurie, McFarlane portrayed things a lot of women worry about, such as marriage and having children. As much as she’s a working woman, Laurie is also concerned about reaching those milestones in her life. Whilst it’s not the be all end all for her, it was interesting to read a book with YA themes from an older perspective.
I also really liked the friendships in this book. I loved how Jamie and Laurie’s relationship was friendly at the start and I also loved Laurie’s best friend, Emily. I think the friendships were not only lovely to read, but it was great to see how these relationships counteracted the breakdown of her romantic one and started bringing the best version of Laurie – and Jamie, too- out.
The one thing I wasn’t so keen on was the ending. It wasn’t unexpected but it just felt a little bit rushed and I didn’t get the warm feeling in my heart I hoped I would get.
Saying that, the book was funny and exciting and I loved the fake relationship trope.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Alternatively, what are you reading? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊