Review: If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

Posted May 28, 2020 by Kate

Review: If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlaneCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Libby (My Library app)

If 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 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...

This one opened with Laurie’s partner of EIGHTEEN YEARS dumping her because he doesn’t ever want to get married or have kids. Laurie is understandably desolate they were dating for two years less than my whole lifetime. Ouch ? Then that same ex-boyfriend… shows up to the office (where they are coworkers) with a pregnant girlfriend. And the blows keep coming! 

A certain encounter in an elevator leads to Laurie agreeing to strike a deal with the office playboy – Jamie – to pretend date until Christmas, to make her the object of something other than pity, and so he can impress the bosses with a steady girlfriend. But a series of fake dates lead to real friendship, which I really liked about this story. Laurie was on the first step of a long emotional journey. After being part of a “half” for almost two decades, and cohabitating and co-doing absolutely everything, Laurie had to learn to be an independent person again. Not only an independent person but also a single woman. 

After being in a non-marriage (but essentially a marriage) for 18 years, Laurie felt adrift and rejected in the worst way possible, and this situation with Jamie was precisely the setup she needed to help feel sexy, wanted and in control again. But make no mistake, Jamie and Laurie were acquaintances, and then friends, for a large part of the book. In fact, the theme of friendship in this book really struck a chord with me. Not only with Jamie, but also with her friend Emily (who I hope gets a book next!). 

“I’m more okay than I’ve been in a long while, and I know no idea how or why.”
“I do,” Jamie said with a smile. “I told you when you started to believe in yourself,
you’d be unstoppable.”
Jamie Carter, what an unlikely hero.  In that second, she wondered if she loved him. 

I mentioned the theme of friendship that was highlighted in this book, and I loved that aspect a lot, actually. We were almost 50 percent through the book before Jamie and Laurie found any sense of chemistry, even. But this allowed so much room for emotional growth through trust, admiration, friendship, mutual appreciation, and loyalty, all building a wonderful foundation for when they actually woke the heck up and realized that they were perfect together: for real! This, my friends, is what we call a beloved slow-burn romance ? It may have all started with an easy platonic romance between the two of them, but I loved watching it grow into something real. 

Laurie was painfully relatable in her self-love journey. My favorite line was: Her clothes and makeup commanded: Look at me. Inside, she howled: Don’t.” Her journey was refreshing in her path to becoming a confident, independent woman away from codependence. It felt genuine and raw and I loved this so much. The endgame was never about finding love, but it was fortunate that it found itself there. 

I admired and loved Laurie so much – I couldn’t imagine going through what she was going through. I cheered and cried for her and really rooted for her during her journey. Even Jamie was an incredible character that kept me grinning through this whole thing. He was cheering for Laurie more than I was and I loved seeing their connection… especially when there was only one bed that one time ? This book is a great example of a perfect friends-to-lovers story, with all the other wonderful tropes thrown in to make it extra fun ?

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(Or read the other reviews here: The Friend Zone, The Right Swipe, Honey-Don’t List,
You Deserve Each Other, If I Never Met You)

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Have you read a great romance lately? Do you typically enjoy the fake relationship trope? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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