Wednesday, 6 May 2015

You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel.
It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.
It's been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

They'd been partners in crime and the best of friends. But it's clear life has moved on.
Ben is married. Rachel is not.

Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she's never been able to mend.

"Very witty and funny... A total gem" ~ Marian Keyes

I'd been sent this book to read from my friend who raved about how good a read it was, and having then looked up a few reviews it was clear I had to make You Had Me At Hello my next review.

If I'm totally honest I found this a little slow to get into, however I think that is just because I'm not a great fan of novels that jump from present to past and back to present again and the first few chapters of You Had Me At Hello did this quite considerably. Once I'd got past that and in to the story it's an absolute delight to read.

Rachel, a court room reporter, is in a relationship with Rhys, in fact they are engaged, yet what Rachel wants for her wedding isnt what Rhys wants, and there doesn't seem to be any compromise. This results in Rachel ending her 13 year old relationship.
She relys heavily on her three best friends from her Uni days.. Mindy, Caroline and Ivor.
The out of the blue, Caroline announces that she saw Ben at the library ~ Ben was Rachel's best friend at uni who disappeared from her life after graduation ~ cue stalker Rachel who happens to "Bump" into him.
Their old friendship returns with banter and laughter as if they had never been apart! 

As the novel unfolds we learn that ten years prior to the pair running in to each other, they had a one night stand with Ben declaring is love for Rachel after three years of being best mates. Unfortunately it doesn't end with a happy ever after as Ben wants to go travelling whilst Rachel has a post grad placement. When Rhys turns up at their grad ball, Ben takes this as a sign that Rachel has made her mind up.
No one ever speaks of their one night again.

That is until, Rachel goes on a date with Simon, a friend of Olivia who happens to be Mrs Ben!
Needless to say it doesn't work out as all she can think about is Ben, and then when the four of them attend the same wedding, Simon stirs trouble by getting Olivia to confront Rachel about sleeping with Ben.

When Ben and Rachel finally talk things through and she reveals her true feelings, Ben pretty much tells her he's going to remain loyal to his wife, that they are moving away from Manchester and requests she doesn't sought him out again.

I genuinely thought at this point that that was it... Rachel and Ben were no longer, not that they were... But as with most chic lits, you always root for the main characters to be as one.

Before the ending the story focuses on Rachel trying to move on with life. And even though this ultimately is a love story, you will have to read it now to see how they end up, there is also a story of great friendships.
Caroline, Mindy and Ivor each help Rachel in her life's troubles in their own quirky ways, and each are there for each other when Caroline discovers her husband is having an affair and through a massive argument between Mindy and Ivor which upsets the groups dynamics.

You Had Me At Hello is brilliantly written. Once I'd got past the back and forth at the beginning of the book I was gripped with Rachel and Ben's story.... I real 'will they, won't they' scenario with lots of added humour and one liners! 

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