Review: “If I Never Met You” by Mhairi McFarlane

Yay for the library being open again so I can pickup all the books I’ve put on hold during the pandemic, lol! (Mostly NA romances but who cares?)

Content warning: attempted child sexual assault (talked about by the main character)

Title: If I Never Met You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: William Marrow Paperbacks
Release date: March 24, 2020
Genre: Romance, contemporary
Length: 423 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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 possibility.

Jamie 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…”

You know, I wasn’t quite sure where this book was going to go after the first couple of chapters. To be honest, I was extremely frustrated—given Dan’s crappy excuses and the whole “we don’t want the same things” argument and “I feel trapped.” I understand how difficult it may be to tell someone you’ve been with for nearly 20 years, but to drag it on was simply torture for Laurie. One of the craziest things for me was Dan saying he didn’t want kids and then his girlfriend (after Laurie) gets pregnant. Ugh. *insert massive eye roll*

I found Laurie herself a unique and strong person, managing to keep herself together yet breaking down. I don’t blame her, obviously. Her life story is a crazy ride and we see how it played out for her due to a singular event in her past. Her dad is a real douchebag though and I felt absolutely no sympathy for him. As for Jamie… He has this reputation at work for being a playboy but as we get to know him with and through Laurie, we see it’s a bit of a sham. And that’s kind of…nice? Though some small parts remain somewhat true (but I won’t say for spoilers’ sake), and it’s frustrating because it kind of felt like an “ugh, MEN” moment. But the truth too is that Jamie’s a bit soft and the fact that he and Laurie do seem so genuinely cute together caused me to give the book that half-star instead of a full 3.

The writing felt all over the place and the passage of time didn’t really seem to be concrete so I did feel lost sometimes. The ending felt a bit rushed but overall, I did enjoy this book. I wasn’t sure what to make of Laurie and Jamie actually being together when it seems like they may not (in the long run) want the same things (mainly kids as Jamie pointed out), but they seemed okay with it not lasting a long time. Okay for them but really weird if it were me, lol. No on page sexy times whatsoever, which was a bit of a letdown.

You can purchase this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or at your local indie with IndieBound.

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