Review: You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane


What happens when the one who got away comes back?


Rachel and Ben were best friends at university but with Rachel’s steady long distance boyfriend and gorgeous Ben’s endless conveyer belt of stunning girlfriends, they never quite made it past the platonic stage…


Ten years later, Rachel is still living in Manchester, still with her old boyfriend and still best friends with her university housemates. She hasn’t seen Ben for years, until she hears he’s returned to Manchester and contrives to bump into him. Immediately Rachel feels the old friendship – and the old feelings – slipping back. The problem is, she may be in the process of finishing things with her long-term boyfriend, but Ben – unfortunately – is extremely married…


I officially have an fan-crush on Mhairi McFarlane – normally it takes me at least three of an author’s books to feel this way, so that shows you how much I loved this book!


I saw the book being advertised by its publisher on Twitter, on sale for Kindle at only 99p. What a bargain, thought I, clicking the link onto Amazon. 30 reviews, all at five stars. Hmmm, suspicious! I read the synopsis, dismay growing. A pair of “almost-more-than-friends” from university re-meeting and re-evaluating their relationship years later in the adult world? This sounds woefully similar to the novel I am 90% finished writing. I’d better buy it and check it out – after all, 99p isn’t much of a gamble…


Happy to report that this story and my own are nothing like one another (so I won’t get done for accidental plagiarism, phew!). It was the best 99p I’ve ever spent. At one point I went on the Kindle app on my phone and got Amazon to send it there, so I could continue reading in bed after my other half demanded the lights off. I absolutely devoured it and it’s quite long – satisfactorily so – for a ‘rom-com’ – and that’s exactly what this book is, emphasis on both the ‘rom’ and the ‘com’. It’s a modern romance where our protagonists have modern concerns and modern issues to overcome – but, importantly, it is a real ‘laugh out loud’ book, and I mean this quite literally (passengers on my work commute could certainly attest to this).


Mhairi’s writing is fresh and sharp. Speaking as someone who’s never been to Manchester, she sets a scene without having to be too heavy handed. Ben is gorgeous, Rachel is adorable in that familiar, dorky, clumsy sort of way. The ‘supporting cast’ are all wonderfully developed; I felt like I was losing actual friends when the story came to its end.


5 stars happily given. I defy anyone not to at least simply enjoy this read.



You Had Me At Hello on & Goodreads.



2 thoughts on “Review: You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane

  1. Pingback: Best reads of 2012 «

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