Romantic comedy/drama isn't really my genre, but I enjoyed Mhairi McFarlane's You Had Me At Hello quite a bit, so I checked this out next from the library. So glad I did. Anna, the heroine, had a fairly predictable story, but I was enthralled by McFarlane's portrayal of Jack. He's (probably) not an asshole at heart, but he certainly acts like one in many ways. Trash-talking people behind their backs, for one, including Anna's sister - and his defense of "I'm entitled to my opinion" is one I've heard from a person in my own life who has literally no understanding of how his behavior affects other people's feelings.
But Jack is also at a turning point in his life, struggling to even understand or feel his own pain at his wife walking out on their year-long marriage. Some of the scenes where he reacts to that loss just about killed me (the one where he holds the cat, GAH, ow ow ow.) And during the book he really starts to see how his immature behavior and attitudes don't reflect the person he wants to become. It isn't the 180 pivot that characters in poorly written novels have after a blinding flash of clarity. It's a process. And it's damn good writing.
McFarlane is also quite skilled (a) at depicting characters falling in love outside of their existing committed relationships without making it sleazy and (b) punching me right in the heart with dramatic romantic moments that include humor and reflect the characters' personalities (see: what Jack writes in the napkin at the end here.)
Will definitely be reading her other books!
A great story with lots of humor. This writer has more than one poignant point to her book and they are wonderfully brought out.
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