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‘You Had Me at Hello’ by Mhairi McFarlane

I have been obsessed with my Kindle lately. One night last week I was flicking through my recommendations on the Kindle store. I was looking for something a bit lighter than the murder and crime stuff I’ve been reading lately! Then ‘You Had Me at Hello’ popped up and I liked the title. It seemed a bit cutesy but smart at the same time. After downloading a sample, I knew I was going to enjoy it. Sometimes all it takes is a few pages. I love that you can download samples, it makes me feel more inclined to give a book a go.

‘You Had Me at Hello’ is about Rachel and Ben, who met at university and were very good friends/could-be-more-than-friends. However, during uni Rachel had a boyfriend. Despite liking Ben, she kept missing the signs that he really liked her. Ten years pass, Rachel is newly single and a not-so-chance bump into Ben brings back the feelings she had pushed aside for so long. However, Ben is now married. Once again the pair can’t be together. They are a bit like Ross and Rachel from ‘Friends’, the timing just is never quite right. A bit frustrating I suppose, but if it were easy there would be no story!

Perhaps the story line sounds all too familiar, but what makes this book stand out is the gentle humour throughout. The novel also flicks between present day, and back to uni days, so we learn more about their relationship then/now as the book goes on. It is also set in Manchester, which for me (with Manchester being my closest city) was a huge bonus! McFarlane really used the setting well, and I loved that Rachel and Ben saw each other for the first time in years at Manchester Central Library! Other places around the city and uni were so well described, I felt like I could really get involved in the story. McFarlane mentions Manchester’s ‘special’ rain that ‘manages to be both vertical and horizontal’ which made me chuckle. Too true.

This novel reminds me a bit of ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls, which I was also a huge fan of. If you liked One Day, give this book a go! I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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