Mhairi McFarlane’s 2020 novel If I Never Met You has been on my ‘to be read‘ list for a while – and I am so happy that I finally got around to it.
The story revolves around thirty-six-year-old Laurie. She’s a lawyer, one of the best at her firm. Her partner, Dan, dumps her after eighteen years together which throws her off balance. We also have Jamie, a handsome hotshot criminal lawyer.
Laurie needs vengeance. Jamie needs to shake off his reputation to make partner at the firm. Obviously, a fake relationship is a way to go.
There is a really good friendship within the fake relationship – Laurie and Jamie crack jokes and support each other, despite the fake dating. With their parents and life issues. You can see where this is going. Also, the friendship between Erica and Laurie is amazing. I love healthy, realistic female friendships!
The overall message is definitely not to judge people based on reputation. Jamie’s womanizing reputation isn’t all it seems, Laurie isn’t as tough in her own life as she is in the courtroom and Erica isn’t as freewheeling and confident as she seems.
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The book has a good sense of realism. You can see this very much happening in real life, which I like. All the characters are fleshed out and relatable. No one is perfect and also the way Laurie interacts with modern-day Manchester is really good.
Often times when a lead in a novel is a woman of colour, writers can overemphasize racism and microaggressions, but this one had me muttering to myself, ‘yes, been there’ – especially when she is asked “where are you really from?”
I do feel like I need a sequel to see where the relationship goes, just to flesh it out more.
Overall, it is a really funny, relaxing read. I read it in one go because I could not put it down. Definitely, one to get you out of a reading slump or exam stress