If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane was a book I discovered via bookstagram. I love a good chick-lit read, especially if it’s set in England, so I was excited to try this one. Laurie is a thirty-something lawyer who is dumped unexpectedly by her partner of eighteen years, Dan. Then it turns out that his reason for ending their relationship is not to ‘find himself’ but because he found someone else. Laurie is blindsided and humiliated, especially because she still has to work with her ex and their break-up becomes common knowledge around the office.
When she gets stuck in an elevator with the office ladies man, Jamie, it sets off a pact between them. Jamie wants to become a partner at their firm, but his reputation as a pants man is stopping his career progress. Laurie wants to make Dan feel like he made a big mistake. So, they hatch a plan to have a fake relationship. But things get complicated fast.
I read If I Never Met You in a day because it was so entertaining. But it’s not your typical romance novel. There are no steamy love scenes, just a whole lot of meaningful conversations and chemistry. Both Laurie and Jamie are fully-rounded characters with backstories, personal problems and baggage to deal with. They are intelligent, good at their jobs, and both worth getting to know over the course of the book. I loved reading their interactions and seeing their relationship deepen from mutual respect to something more. They both also give good banter to each other.
If you are looking for an intelligent, contemporary romance read that’s really entertaining and well-written, I highly recommend If I Never Met You. Though it follows a familiar formula – the faux romance pact – it delivers a lot of heartfelt scenes along the way. I loved the fact that Laurie was biracial and a few years older than Jamie, but it wasn’t an issue in their relationship. This was such a fun, escapist book to read at a time like this. I’ll be reading more books by Mhairi McFarlane very soon.
Verdict: A fantastic contemporary romance read that I highly recommend.