If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?
The brand new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane
Laurie and Jamie have the perfect office romance
(They set the rules via email)
Everyone can see they’re head over heels
(They staged the photos)
This must be true love
(They’re faking it)
When Laurie is dumped by her partner of eighteen years, she’s blindsided. Not only does she feel humiliated, they still have to work together.
So when she gets stuck in the lift with handsome colleague Jamie, they hatch a plan to stage the perfect romance. Revenge will be sweet…
But this fauxmance is about to get complicated. You can’t break your heart in a fake relationship – can you?
‘Beautiful and touching – I loved it so much!’ Marian Keyes
‘Sharply relevant, super funny, packs an emotional punch and deeply, deliciously romantic – perfect on every level’ Cressida McLaughlin
‘Funny, crackling with sexual tension, and full of complex, nuanced characters – a total joy to read’ Louise O’Neill
‘A funny, smart and wonderfully romantic book about faking it… and making it. I loved every page’ Lucy Diamond
Praise for Mhairi McFarlane:
‘I loved it! So funny and warm – a delicious read’ Marian Keyes
‘Wildly funny and wildly romantic… Another wonderful novel from an author at the top of her game’ Louise O’Neill
‘Beautiful, funny and heartbreaking’ Giovanna Fletcher
‘Funny and heartfelt, full of humour and wisdom, I absolutely loved it’ Katie Fforde
‘Intelligent, edgy and laugh out loud funny – a romantic comedy to love’ Sunday Mirror
‘The perfect mix of comedy, whip smart dialogue and all the feels’ Fabulous
‘Mhairi gets the mix of laughs, romance and serious emotional depth just right in this page-turner that stands out from the crowd’ S Magazine
‘Hilarious, clever and beautifully written’ Daily Mail
‘Fiery, feminist, fit, filthy and very timely … astonishingly good’ Harriet Reuter Hapgood
‘A warm belly full of joy from start to finish!’ Holly Bourne
‘Mhairi’s best yet: nobody does modern love like her, hilarious, devastating and real’ Laura Kemp
‘An effortlessly brilliant read – will have you laughing when you shouldn’t and sobbing when you least expect it’ Giovanna Fletcher
‘Totally hilarious and wincingly real’ Jenny Colgan
‘Her best yet – write faster!’ Holly Bourne
‘No-one writes such wry, emotionally complex romantic fiction’ RED
‘The perfect balance of romcom and drama… the ultimate holiday read!’ GRAZIA
‘Warm, nuanced, compelling’ STYLIST
‘Intelligent and insightful’ HEAT
‘Sparky, smart, sore-stomach-laughing kind of read’ FABULOUS
About the author
Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976 and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree.
After some efforts at journalism, she started writing novels and her first book, You Had Me At Hello, was an instant success. She’s now written six books and she lives in Nottingham with a man and a cat.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Mhairi McFarlane’s Inside Story: “What I like doing is taking a high-concept romantic comedy idea and then putting it into a setting that we all recognise. In If I Never Met You, she works at this really quite sexist, old-school law firm with a bunch of blokes. I used to work in a newsroom and I have lots of friends who are solicitors. I know that really bloke-y office. Then I drop the fake romance into that world. I think you get the thrill of escapism because it’s quite a ridiculous thing, really. Nobody would actually do that in real life, but at the same time, it feels real when you’re reading it, or at least I would hope it does. Marrying those two things is what people like my books for, I think. The escapism and the realism at the same time.
“I think each time I go to start a new book, I just ask myself what I want to write about. What do I find interesting? What do I find intriguing? I think the minute you start to think, ‘What would be commercial? What would everyone like?’ then you’re a bit sunk because, without sounding too pretentious, it’s not coming from a very real place. I think readers are very good at sussing a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the author. I think you have to communicate, ‘I love this story, I want to tell the story,’ and then you've got people’s attention.
“Actually, readers respond brilliantly to that. A few times now, I’ve moved on a bit because you can’t keep keep doing the same. Readers want all the same elements, but they dowant you to offer them something a bit fresh each time. I don’t think things would be going particularly well for me if I was still writing You Had Me at Hello.
“You have to develop. Push yourself. Perfect example: the first draft I’m working on at the moment is giving me absolute hell. I said to my editor the other day, ‘Finally I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.’ Probably you should be biting off more than you can chew. If you’re biting off exactly as much as you can chew comfortably, then there’s probably a problem.
“This is quite painful to admit, but in terms of research, I do very little. Because it’s romance, because it’s romantic comedy, it’s not like I have to know how CERN works or whatever. With If I Never Met You, my friend who’s a lawyer, I asked her a few questions about court procedure and all the rest of it. I}m sure by the way, mangled it. I definitely got one bit wrong because I have someone banging a gavel. Then I read The Secret Barrister book on holiday.
“It said, ‘If there’s one thing I hate in any drama or entertainment is when they pretend that UK courts have gavels.’ I was like, ‘Oh, bollocks.’ That’s where my research is. Because a lot of it is emotions and relationships, it’s a question of mining what feels real in me. It’s not really about going to a third party and saying, ‘What was this like?’ Or, ‘What’s that like?’ I have, occasionally. All my friends are absolutely used to me being incredibly nosy about their relationships and the pasts of anything they’re getting up to.
“I am, I suppose, let’s call it curious. I’m not someone who, if I was left alone in the room with someone’s diary, I would look at it. Partly because I would think, ‘Oh God, I’m going to see things I don’t want to be burdened with.’ No, I’m not that level nosy, but definitely in the pub if my friends are like, ‘I’m seeing this bloke,’ then yes. I’ll definitely, definitely be nosy about that.
“They’ve all been so nice about things being used. All my friends are positively like, ‘Use it. Go on. Stick it to him. Describe what happened here,’” or whatever. They’re all really good about it, which is lucky because I’m on six books. I always find it hilarious when you get the question: ‘How much of this is you?’ It’s like, ‘Jesus, really. Not much. I haven’t lived six romcom books in my life, nor would I want to.”
McFarlane (Don't You Forget About Me) brings a welcome dose of reality to the fake office romance trope with flawed, honest, but still endearing protagonists. After Laurie's boyfriend of 18 years, Dan, abruptly leaves her and then confesses that he and his new girlfriend are expecting a child, Laurie dreads having to see him every day at the law firm where they both work. When Laurie gets stuck in an elevator with Jamie Carter, a notorious playboy who also works at the firm, they realize they can help each other: Jamie wants a promotion and needs to impress the partners by appearing to have grown out of his womanizing ways; Laurie wants to quell the office gossip. They agree to fake a relationship to achieve both goals, but as the inevitable real feelings bubble up between them, Laurie wonders if her heart is too broken to take a chance on new love. McFarlane's arch humor and earnest characters make this familiar plot feel fresh, fun, and genuinely moving. This is a delightful rom-com full of sass, sparkle, and heart.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Wow I’ve never been so hooked on a book in ages! Heartbreak, finding yourself and love. Going to read some more books from this brilliant author!
A lot of emotions with this one. Heartbreak, loneliness but most importantly love and finding yourself. The loveable POC protagonist is the icing on the cake for me.
Sorry. It’s pants.
First few pages in...I can’t cope. It’s not good writing I’m afraid.