Title: Last Night (review copy)
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Emotional Drama, Bittersweet, Friendship, Found Family, Romance
Blurb from Goodreads
Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers.
Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.
But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.
In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended.
As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction…
They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?
I am blown away by how much I loved this book. I truly, truly didn’t expect to…
So laying all my cards on the table here. At least five if not six years ago I borrowed two Mhairi McFarlane books from the library because I’d heard great things about her writing. And I love the genre she writes; sassy British comedic, contemporary fiction… sign me up!
But I ended up not liking either of the books I read. I gave one star to It’s Not Me It’s You and actually DNFd ‘Who’s That Girl’. And so I said to myself okay, this just isn’t an author that fits with me …which is okay because as we know not every reader can click with every author. Life would be pretty dull if we all liked the same things wouldn’t it.
So flash forward to March 2021 when I received an email from Harper Collins granting me access to an eARC copy of Last Night, Mhairi’s newest novel. They said because I love Lindsay Kelk’s writing (which I do. Freaking adore everything she writes) that maybe I would like to read this book by Mhairi.
And I sat on that email for a month.
I thought to myself nah, I haven’t liked her books in the past so I’ll skip this. But then I started looking at all the early reviews for Last Night on NetGalley and they were all singing the praises of this novel. So I took a punt and downloaded the book to read.
AND I ADORED IT.
It is simply masterful in its genre.
The book is this fantastic mix of hilarity and sadness, exuberance and pathos.
It follows the story of Eve and her three best friends, Justin, Susie, and Ed. And how the aftermath of one night rips apart their lives. I’m not going to give away any detail about the plot because this is one of those books that is best enjoyed without being privy to anything that even vaguely resembles spoilers in my opinion.
What I will say is that you get a book that focuses more on the importance of friendship and found family in someone’s life rather than putting a romantic plot line in the foreground. However, don’t worry you romance lovers like myself out there as this book serves up a brilliant romantic plot line in the second half!
But primarily this is a book that explores the intricate dynamics that exist within a friend group that has been in existence since adolescence (and since earlier childhood for one pairing within the foursome. The way the relationships of main character Eve with her friends and her relationship with herself are written will have you turning the pages as quickly as you can as the writing is utterly compelling. This is a book that I raced through because it was so good; I just never wanted to put it down and needed to know how it all would eventually pan out.
Each of the main characters in the novel were crafted so delicately. I genuinely felt as if they could be real people so fully realised were there personalities and backstories. And none of them was too perfect. They were all fatally flawed in the best way possible.
The book dealt with some heavy subject matter (I shall put content warnings at the end of this review) and managed to do it in a way that felt incredibly sympathetic and sensitive towards the characters affected, but also with a deft lightness of touch that brought about much needed belly laughs in the midst of tragedy. I think McFarlane is quite the comic genius in many ways as there are so many laugh out loud moments in this book that are that perfect mix of cringe, cheesy, and devilishly witty.
There simply wasn’t anything I could find fault with when reading this book.
I laughed. I cried. I got so mad at some characters. And I got super sad for others… basically I went through a whole rollercoaster of emotions with main character Eve and loved every second of it.
An effortless five star read which taught me that sometimes authors are worth a second look! I’m so thankful to HarperCollins UK for inviting me to read a copy of this book because without that invitation I would have missed out on what I am certain will be one of my favourite books of 2021.
Highly recommended to anyone who loves contemporary fiction filled with comedy and bittersweetness.
Please note this is not an exhaustive list. And that some may consider this list to contain spoilers for the plot
- Death of a friend (pedestrian struck by car)
- Physical child abuse
- Dementia (Alzheimer’s)
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 1st April 2021, HarperCollins UK