Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Mills & Boon moments.
Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget.
So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?
Mhairi McFarlene’s debut novel, You Had Me At Hello, was one of my favourite books (if not my favourite) of 2013, so I was massively looking forward to reading this. It’s the only book I’ve read this year, but I already know it’s going to be up there on this year’s list too.
Anna had a hard time growing up, being fat and bullied at school. Regardless she decides to go to her school reunion 15 odd years later. No one recognises the beautiful, thin, Italian that walks in the room, not even her school crush James. She leaves the reunion and hopes to put the whole thing behind her, until one day James walks into her life again, and she has to work closely with him on a project.
Cue them getting on well, but Anna still not telling him who she is, and not trusting him because of what he did when he was at school.
I loved this. I loved the story. I love McFarlane’s voice, the dialogue, the narrative. I loved the characters (except James’ ‘’best’’ friend Laurence). I loved everything about it. It’s so real, the story and characters could be someone you know, telling a real story. I just loved it. I’m gushing, but I can’t help it, I LOVED it.
If I have to wait another year for her next novel, I hope it goes fast!