4.5 highly recommending stars.I ll keep the plot description very brief So, Laurie s looooong term partner just ups and leaves, the PRICK In comes her gorgeous colleague Jamie Carter Jamie has the great idea that he and Laurie should fake date to make her ex jealous, and to clean up his promiscuous rep Let the good times roll, rightMight as well fit Carter with a GoPro, from what I ve heard The secret life of the neighbourhood tom I never in a million years thought that this book could do all that it did, in such a short time I related to it, it drew me miles in I didn t know whether to laugh or cry with every turn of the page How Mhairi delivered the Dan blow, and still restored my faith in the men of the cough, fictional world, I ll never know Actually I do know, it was our Jamie and his million layersJamie Carter, what an unlikely hero In that second she wondered if she loved him Laurie was literally one of the wittiest heroines I ve ever encountered and Jamie was unexpectedly but certainly her perfect match These two first developed a deep friendship, and thefrom there was done beautifully, very naturalI scoffed at the idea anyone could make you see your life through new eyes and I m so, so glad to be wrong Mhairi McFarlane is everything I never knew I needed, cliche I know but I am so excited by her writing, how freaking funny is she All I want to do is read all of her books, STAT If I Never Met You was very close to perfect There was one or two little things, but very, very small complaints from meeee ARC kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Quotes are subject to change before publication. This is a really lovely, heartwarming story with mostly likeable characters that I raced through almost in one sitting through sheer enjoyment Laurie Watkinson has been with Dan Price since university eighteen years ago They are comfortable, have really good jobs as lawyers at the same firm in Manchester, a nice house and are planning on starting a family Correction Laurie is Totally out of the blue comes a bombshell Dan is unhappy, they want different things, it s me not you, blah, blah and he dumps her With indecent haste he begins a relationship with Nicole who, with equally indecent haste, is pregnant Laurie is floored Talk about a metaphorical kick in the teeth Dan is clearly a liar and a cheat Whilst stuck in the lift at work with Jamie Carter who has a reputation as a bit of a Lothario, they devise a revenge plan that helps them both and fake a relationship and so let the fun and games begin What I like most about this book is the really good characterisation as they are really believable Jamie is not what he seems, he s actually quite sensitive and vulnerable which he hides with armour plating He s clever and ambitious and so I guess he ruffles feathers as other blokes seem to find him challenging it s a testosterone thing and can t wait to drag him down He s honest which Dan certainly wasn t Laurie is also very clever and doesn t altogether appreciate her worth She s loyal, quick witted, funny and an excellent friend I love the banter between her and Jamie, they are at ease with each other, it s on equal terms, they can be themselves and that makes their friendship profound There is really lovely humour throughout the book plus a dash of wit, a smidge of sarcasm and a dollop of lol The conversations between all the characters have a genuine feel of authenticity which I really like The story is well paced, it feels fresh and current which the Manchester setting adds to I think the author has been very clever with her choice of locations as they match the personalities Manchester is a vibrant, exciting and fun, young city and so it s a great environment for the unfolding romantic comedic drama Lincoln where Jamie s lovely parents live, is a beautiful old city with great history just as his parents have Overall, a very enjoyable, fun read and I love the ending andit happens at Christmas Awwww So appropriate to the time of year leaving the reader with a real sense of satisfaction and happiness It is well written, it s smart, keeps you interested throughout, it entertains and takes you through a range of emotions what can you ask for Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins, Harper Fiction for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Bestselling Author Mhairi McFarlane Returns With Another Heartfelt Romantic Comedy Perfect For Fans Of Josie Silver, Sophie Kinsella, Or Sally ThorneIf Faking Love Is This Easy How Do You Know When It S Real When Her Partner Of Over A Decade Suddenly Ends Things, Laurie Is Left Reeling Not Only Because They Work At The Same Law Firm And She Has To See Him Every Day Her Once Perfect Life Is In Shambles And The Thought Of Dating Again In The Age Of Tinder Is Nothing Short Of Horrifying When News Of Her Ex S Pregnant Girlfriend Hits The Office Grapevine, Taking The Humiliation Lying Down Is Not An Option Then A Chance Encounter In A Broken Down Elevator With The Office Playboy Opens Up A New PossibilityJamie Carter Doesn T Believe In Love, But He Needs A Respectable, Steady Girlfriend To Impress Their Bosses Laurie Wants A Hot New Man To Give The Rumor Mill Something Else To Talk About It S The Perfect Proposition A Fauxmance Played Out On Social Media, With Strategically Staged Photographs And A Specific End Date In Mind With The Plan Hatched, Laurie And Jamie Begin To Flaunt Their New Couple Status, To The Astonishment And Jealousy Of Their Friends And Colleagues But There S A Fine Line Between Pretending To Be In Love And Actually Falling For Your Charming, Handsome Fake Boyfriend Mhairi McFarlane s terrifically fun read is endearing and engaging whilst having some surprisingly insightful thoughts on the nature of relationships and women in general 36 year old lawyer Laurie Watkinson lives in Manchester, working at provincial law firm, Salter and Rowson Her long term partner of 18 years, Dan Price, is a lawyer there too, so when out of the blue Dan breaks up with her citing he is not ready to settle down and have children with her, Laurie s world falls apart Her pain knows no bounds when she learns Dan is involved with another woman, Meghan, and that she is pregnant Feeling desolate, humiliated and casually discarded, her capacity to trust takes a huge hit as Dan proves to be a liar and nothing like the man she had believed him to be, although there is a part of her that still loves him Matters are exacerbated in a workplace of strong competitive rivalries and gossip that an empty, tearful, grieving and fragile Laurie is not equipped to deal with.Laurie finds some comfort and strong support in the company of her long term best friend, Emily who works in the PR industry, and the quirky, cloche wearing feminist, Nadia, not to mention her fabulous friend and gay co worker, Bharat When exceedingly good looking and ambitious playboy lawyer, Jamie Carter, allergic to marriage and relationships, hatches a plan that will save face for Laurie and help his career, she cannot help but be tempted, a woman scorned seeking some measure of vengeance She and Jamie are to embark on a time limited relationship, played out on social media on Facebook and Instagram with carefully staged photographs, besotted with each other and in love, but all completely fictitious Emily warns against this plan, and the possible repercussions with the unintended consequences that are likely to arise but Laurie will not be deflected Jamie turns out to have far depth than she could have imagined, their unexpectedly close relationship and comic banter builds her self esteem, confidence, whilst ugly male attitudes and egos erupt in her workplace Will it all end in tears The highlights of this romantic comedy are how it underlines the vital support to be found in friendships, and that whilst finding and developing a relationship is a great thing, what is important is observing Laurie having her eyes opened to the shortfalls in her relationship with Dan that she was unaware of at the time, a hard won clarity and perspective gained through bitter experience and distance Laurie travels a difficult and challenging road to being and understanding who she is, this matters than a relationship as it allows her to deal with the slings and arrows of misfortune that come her way, and take control of her life A wonderfully entertaining and captivating read Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC. 4.25 stars The trouble with liars, Laurie had decided from much research in the professional field, is they always thought everyone else was less smart than them If I Never Met You is the fourth novel I ve read by Mhairi McFarlane and I m happy to say that it is my favourite book of hers McFarlane just keeps getting better and better, and this time round she gives a new spin to the tired fake dating trope which prior to this book I considered to be one of my least favourite romcom tropes This Greek God was prepared to anoint her his Phony Goddess It did feel like the most longed for boy in school asking you to prom Once again McFarlane writing combines laugh out loud moments with an insightful narrative that taps into deep seated issues Blending humour and realism McFarlane s story is as witty as it is topical Our protagonist, and narrator, is Laurie, a thirty six year old lawyer Her world collapses when her partner of eighteen years leaves her Having spent half of her life with Dan, and not knowing why he no longer wants to be with her, Laurie is hurt and confused Worst still, Dan works at the same firm as Laurie so she is forced to keep up a happy front at work Laurie has barely had time to process Dan s departure when, within weeks of their break up, he announces that he 1 has a new girlfriend who happens to work at a rival firm 2 is a father to be as said girlfriend is now pregnant.Laurie soon finds that both her social and work life are affected by her new single status As a woman in her late thirties she is subject to unwarranted comments regarding her future such as isn t she too old now to find a new partner or start a family A rightfully angry Laurie makes a deal with her firm s local Casanova, Jamie Carter, in order to put a stop to the fake pity and gossip that her coworkers and acquaintances are showering over her And maybe also to get back at Dan If you wanted plumbing done, you hired a plumber If you wanted your roof fixed you hired a roofer If you wanted everyone to erroneously believe you were at it like knives, you recruited Jamie Carter As they spend and time together, in order to make their fauxmance believable, Laurie and Jamie find themselves forming a bond of sorts Although Laurie realises they are as different as chalk and cheese, she is surprised to discover that Jamie is far from the superficial all looks not much else guy he d pegged him to be.With dialogues that are simultaneously funny and clever If I Never Met You is hard to put down I loved Laurie After her breakup with Dan she begins an introspective journey as she is forced to find herself in a reality that feels alien She also experiences first hand the double standards of being a single woman rather than a single man Colleagues and friends who prior to her breakup seemed relatively affable reveal their true colours Thankfully her best friend and Jamie provide the narrative with much needed positivity They are both nuanced characters, with fears and desires of their own, and their relationship to Laurie present us with many tender scenes There is a bit of banter, which was a delight to read, and a few disagreements but for the most part Laurie and Jamie s budding maybe not so fake romance had me smiling like an idiot.Laurie s trials and tribulations are both endearing and entertaining There are some heart breaking moments nestled in this otherwise light hearted narrative Laurie realises that sometimes it is better to choose carefully who you let into your life, and that perhaps some people aren t worth forgiving From the humour to the romance, this novel simply stole my heart I would call this type of book escapist fiction as it is sure to satisfy readers romcom requirements but to do feels like doing it a disservice It isn t all fun and games, and McFarlane doesn t shy away from portraying the way in which rumours, gossips, and false impression affected both women and men Laurie in particular goes through quite a few hardships and I felt immensely proud of her character growth.Jamie too was surprisingly vulnerable, and I appreciated the way they supported each other She d never been called a survivor She turned the word over her in mind she liked how it sounded, applied to her It wasn t victimhood and it wasn t self aggrandising, it was about coping And she had definitely done that I thoroughly recommend this novel to fans of contemporary fiction and I m really looking forward to reading this again.Read reviews on my blog View all my reviews on Goodreads I mostly read suspense thriller but I really love romantic comedy every once in awhile to lighten things up For these books to work for me, however, I have to want to root for the heroine, find the dialogue witty, or at the very least be able to relate to the characters I wasn t finding that to be the case with this one, therefore, despite it working for many others, I ve decided to move on DNF at 25% Not rating This is only my second McFarlane, whereas I ve read a lot of contemporary writing by a lot of authors, but I think I can safely say that no one writes real life quite like her.That said, I am finding it hard to nail down my feelings on this one There is so much intelligence, strength, and emotion in McFarlane s writing This one deals with the emotional devastation and grief in the post breakdown of an almost two decades long relationship, and where one goes after surviving that particularly when one s ex is a total cad Throw in some maybe not so healthy desire for revenge, the perfect playboy to get it with, and you have a fake dating meets office romance meets friends to real lovers story But there s even than that, too.I think part of why I find this one harder to rate than the other, which was such a no brainer, is that for all the emotions, I didn t quite get caught up in any of them I very much liked both of these characters, each with their stories that made them so much than what they were perceived to be, and also deserved so much for themselves, and I quite liked their respective besties, but yeah, just not quite the same charm or outright love But it s still such a great story, and so well written, whilst balancing that very real life is messy and sometimes imperfect dose of reality, and I m still a thousand percent keen to dive into the author s backlist that I ve yet to explore 3.75 starsFull review to come on release I received an ARC from the publisher thank you in exchange for an honest review. INTERRACIAL FAKE DATINGY ALL THIS IS NOT A DRILL 99 pennies on kindle, lads 4.5 This book was a de fuckin light. It s by far one of the most wittiest stories I ve read and I m kicking myself for not having read a novel by Mhairi McFarlane sooner This is a mistake that will be dealt with I RECEIVED AN ARC Thank you, Harper Fiction A heart warming, emotional, yet fun tale of heartbreak, friendship and self discovery Laurie, 36 thought she had it all, a great job as a lawyer, a lovely home, and a long term boyfriend of 18 years, who she was planning to have a baby with Then seemingly out of nowhere he said he didn t want kids, ended the relationship and moved out But unfortunately they worked together, so she had to see him at the office everyday To make matters worse, he then announced he had a new girlfriend, who was pregnant In shock, and devastated by the brutal turn of events, Laurie starts up a fake relationship with Jamie Carter, a playboy lawyer at her firm to help her save face, and to hep him with his career.I really liked a lot of things about this book, and I stayed up way too late reading it Fake dating Slow burn romance Set in the amazing city of Manchester Strong writing Strong mixed raced woman Great feminism and social justice, but not too in your face we all know i hate that Likeable characters Modern Funny I really liked Laurie, she was smart and funny, and it was refreshing to read about an older woman who was rediscovering herself, and putting her life back together after such a setback I really felt for her, having her life turned upside down, and I felt her pain and loss as she not only lost her partner, but one of her best friends, when she lost Dan The first part of the book where she just kept getting knocked down, was brutal and very emotional It was tough, but so realistic how this book showed the disintegration of a good long term relationship, but also how maybe when you look back, you can see that the relationship wasn t that good really, that you just couldn t see it when you were in it This has happened to quite a few of my friends Laurie was the nice girl, the reliable and nice one, so to see her come out of her shell whilst fake dating Jamie was lovely I thought the breakup was realistic, and I loved Laurie s relatable character As a mixed raced woman, Laurie had to deal with quite a bit of racism for all of her life, hearing things like so where are you from No but where are you really from Etc I think it was well done, because as much as we want to believe we re past all of that, there are still huge pockets of Britain which are hugely racist Laurie s workplace was also written well I thought it was quite a toxic, gossipy place, almost like living in a goldfish bowl, and I ve definitely worked in a few places with a similar atmosphere Poor Laurie not only had her personal life come crashing down, but then had to deal with her whole office talking about it Not to mention how badass she was as a woman working in a mostly white male industry, dealing with workplace sexism Jamie was adorable Billed as a playboy, he wasn t what he seemed at all I loved that he was so ambitious, and didn t play the game, despite it affecting his relationship with the other men at the firm I liked how Laurie brought out his softer side, especially on the trip to his hometown of Lincoln, where we met his friends and family It was so great that he had a female best friend, Hattie,we should see of that in books I really enjoyed seeing Jamie support, encourage and stand up for Laurie,Other things I liked was Laurie and her mum s relationship growth, the banter between Jamie and Laurie, but also between Laurie and her best friend Emily I loved their friendship, it was everything I also liked Nadia, and her blunt take on things Another great friendship was with Bharet in Laurie s office The characters were all realistic and flawed, and I liked that This book was the fluffy read that my heart needed However, I did feel that the ending was very rushed After all the excellent build up and character development, the romantic drama at the end didn t really feel in keeping with the rest of the book to me Maybe the author ran out of words and had to wrap it up quick I would ve liked to see of Laurie and Jamie as an actual couple.Alsothe lack of sexy times disappointed this reader I m all for a slow burn romance, and the inclusion of family and friendships, but there just wasn t enough steam And fade to black doesn t even cover it for the sex scene we did have, it jumped from them getting it on, to Laurie telling her friends about it the next day grumpy face All in all though, a really great feel good and entertaining read, with some fabulous humour Many thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for thus ARC in exchange for an honest review.