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    Charming romance (4.5 stars)

    If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane is a charming romance that is giggle inducing and emotionally compelling. Lawyer Laurie Watkinson is completely blindsided when her boyfriend of eighteen years (!) Dan Price ends their relationship. She is also heartbroken and angry when she learns he was involved with his new (and pregnant) girlfriend before they split up. Laurie and Dan work together and gossip spreads like wildfire once their office mates discover the titillating news about the former couple. So when co-worker and ladies’ man Jamie Carter proposes the two of them enter into a fauxmance which will benefit both of them, Laurie is quick to agree. But as they spend time together, a surprising friendship springs up between them. When Laurie begins to realize her feelings for Jamie are turning romantic, is there any chance their fauxmance will lead to a lasting relationship? Laurie is a smart, sassy and sarcastic woman with a flourishing career. She is comfortable in her relationship with Dan and she is happy to support him as he rises within the company. An only child, her relationships with both her mum and father are fraught. Laurie’s best friend Emily Clarke is bluntly honest yet supportive. With her heart shattered and her confidence shaken, Laurie is contemplative as she looks back on her relationship and arrives at some very startling conclusions. Jamie is a newcomer to the firm and he is not very well-liked. His reputation with women is well-known and he makes no effort to hide his confidence or ambition. His bosses are pleased with his work but they are concerned about his serial dating. After an unexpectedly fun evening together, Jamie comes up with his brilliant fauxmance idea which he hopes will alter his superiors’ opinion of him along with providing the opportunity for Laurie to exact revenge on her cheating ex. Thier first few fake dates are a little uncomfortable, so Laurie and Jamie are a little surprised by how much they enjoy each other’s company. Jamie is surprisingly down to earth and easy to talk to and Laurie soon realizes she misjudged him. Their relationship takes an unexpected turn but with their goal soon in sight, will Jamie and Laurie do anything about their growing feelings for one another? With plenty of humor, If I Never Met You is an absolutely delightful romance with a fantastic cast of characters and a realistic storyline. Laurie’s self-examination leads to a change in her perspective about both herself and her failed relationship. Despite a bit of a negative first impression, Jamie is a kind-hearted, compassionate man. A light-hearted read that has plenty of substance and depth that I thoroughly enjoy and highly recommend to old and new fans of Mhairi McFarlane. I received a complimentary copy for review.
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    A beautiful story of friendship and self-discovery

    If I Never Met You is a beautiful story of friendship, heartbreak and self-discovery. Laurie is a 36 year old successful lawyer who has been in love with her boyfriend and co-worker Dan for the past 18 years. They have a mortgage, successful careers and have recently discussed starting a family. Then, out of no where, Dan announces to her that he’s leaving her to “go find himself”. He assures her there is not another woman involved, but has to take a step back from this when he announces ten weeks later that he has met someone from a competing law firm and they are expecting a baby together. Needless to say, Laurie is grief-stricken and humiliated but trying to carry on with life. A chance elevator breakdown with her law firm’s playboy Jamie leads to drinks together and a frank discussion about what is happening in their lives. Jamie has requested to be made a partner in the firm, but has been told his playboy lifestyle would not get him there. Laurie wants Dan to see the mistake he made and come back to her. The two develop a relationship of mutual benefit - acting as though they are a couple in hopes that they will both get what they want. The author’s ability to develop likeable, meaningful characters is a gift. She tells Laurie’s story with humour and compassion . I loved that the story is about Laurie’s self-discovery as a person, as well as being able to see the flaws of the relationship she had with Dan. The book is perfect for those that love women’s fiction and romantic comedies. Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.
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