A review by shelleyrae
If I Never Met You, by Mhairi McFarlane

4.0


A delightful romantic comedy, If I Never Met You is Mhairi McFarlane’s sixth novel.

Laurie is devastated when her boyfriend of eighteen years suddenly announces he is leaving her, claiming the need to ‘find’ himself, and then completely shattered when she learns just weeks later that Dan not only has a new girlfriend, but that the girlfriend is pregnant.
Desperate to retain a shred of dignity, especially given she and Dan still have to work together in the same law firm, Laurie strikes a deal with a colleague. Jamie needs help to rehabilitate his reputation as a lothario to have a shot at making partner, and being seen to enjoy a new relationship with a handsome and successful man might make Dan rethink his decision to breakup with Laurie. A fake relationship will benefit them both...as long as no one ever finds out.

The bare bones of the plot of If I Never Met You is not by any means unique, but the execution by McFarlane has real appeal. Yes this is a romantic comedy that exploits the enemies to lovers trope, but there is also a surprising depth to the story.

In particular, McFarlane’s characters move beyond the expected stereotypes, subverting them in ways that are thoughtful and realistic. I felt as if I could relate to Laurie, even though I don’t share her experience, and empathised with her feelings and behaviour. On first impression, Jamie appears to be a typical ‘Alpha’ hero, but it quickly becomes clear that appearances can be deceiving.

I love McFarlane’s sense of humour, which can be very dry, but also makes judicious use of the cheap laugh. I also really admire the way in which the author utilises a full range of emotion without becoming too farcical, nor too angsty, it’s a difficult balancing act that she gets just right.

If I Met Never You is witty, heartfelt and utterly engaging.