Here’s Looking At You, Mhairi McFarlane
Published June 3rd 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers
Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Harlequin romance moments.
Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the butt of schoolyard jokes are ones she’d rather forget.
So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?
I really enjoyed McFarlane’s first book You Had Me at Hello, so I was excited to read her next novel. Anna is the kind of heroine that you immediately are rooting for. She was horribly bullied at school and the scene we get is heartbreaking. Now though Anna has come through it and is educated, she has great friends and a great career; and she’s now a knock-out beauty even if she does not quite believe it herself. James was Anna’s great love in high school and the chief tormentor in her worst experience. When we meet adult James its kind of nice to see that he hates his job and his beautiful wife has left him. He deserves it the jerk!
You can’t blame Anna when she meets James again for not coming out and telling him who she is. You kind of can’t blame Anna for going along with a friendship with James as things progress. He’s smart and funny and still wonderfully handsome. But there was part of me that really didn’t want Anna to trust James too far. Maybe I was the one that couldn’t get past what Anna went through at school? Anna and James seemed so great together, I was just afraid he was still too good to be true at first.
McFarlane created a completely engaging cast of characters to both root for and against. They were more than just foils for Anna and James and I felt invested in each of them. I loved Anna’s friend Daniel absolutely. This line given while describing a table he served at work had me snorting while reading on the train-always attractive-
“We’re firmly in the era of the fussy fuck I’m afraid and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Too true! I really think that’s a term I should be using more. Aside from Daniel, I enjoyed Anna’s family-especially her sister- and their other friends. I was enthralled with Anna’s love life and her internet dating. I was so anxious for her to just have it out with James and get things in the open. The great reveal of Anna’s identity to James was everything it should have been-honest and emotional and it led to a perfect conclusion for me.
I will definitely be waiting for McFarlane’s next book!
Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss for this advanced read copy in exchange for an honest review!
All quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley proof subject to change in the final edition