Not because it’s particularly ground-breaking or genre-defying, but because it’s so funny, well-written and just hard to put down.
The story follows Rachel, a court reporter for Manchester Evening News, and Ben, a solicitor. They were great friends throughout university and then didn’t see each other for ten years before Ben moved back to Manchester with his wife. There are a lot of feelings between them that aren’t explained for a long time – largely because they’re hiding them from themselves – and it is a joy to learn about both their past and their present along with their friends.
Every character was perfectly described and a delight to read – except, obviously, when they turned nasty. In particular Rachel and Ben as the star players were witty, vulnerable and constantly endearing. As a central pair of friends, they could not have been any more likeable.
The sub-plot following Rachel at work was especially well-written and easily relates to wannabe journos but, more importantly, it gave extra tension in a grown-up, non-romantic way. To gain insight as much into Rachel’s career as her love life gave her power and independence where chick-lit heroines can too easily be weak and silly.
Due to the addictive way it was written, I raced through this book like none in quite a while. The “what if” theme of looking back at the past and what could have been done differently was also gripping and made me wonder what would happen if I had met my boyfriend in different circumstances – we also met at the beginning of university, but thankfully things went a lot more smoothly.
Thanks to my dad for the recommendation (he’s a big romantic).