After bring us some great books such as ‘You had me at Hello’ and ‘Here’s looking at You’, Mhairi McFarlane is back with a bang! I have loved reading Mhairi’s books and when I received this book for review, I say unreservedly without exaggeration that I was very, very excited at the prospect of getting my hands and indeed my eyes on this one!
‘It’s Not Me It’s You’ is about the unique, irrepressible Delia, our ginger haired, retro fashion loving Geordie heroine who is living a fairly mundane existence with her bar owner boyfriend Paul, working as the local council’s PR and pretty much hiding her bright, shining light under a bushel, so as to speak. Things get a little bit interesting when the council starts getting ‘cyber trolled’ by someone called the ‘Peshawari Naan’ and it falls on Delia to find the culprit. Added to this, after ten years with Paul, Delia, understandably pops the question, with an expectation that Paul will whole-heartedly accept her marriage proposal and be as ready to make a lasting commitment as her.
To her (and also the reader’s) dismay, Paul is for want of a better word ‘underwhelmed’ and on the very night Delia accidentally intercepts a text meant for Paul from the woman that he is cheating on her with. This sets off a chain of events that change Delia’s life forever. Leaving the unfaithful and ungrateful Paul, who has been cheating on her with the much younger Celine, Delia leaves in tears, seeking refuge with her parents. After this, a particularly trying day at work, she finally decides to leave her old job at the council and departs for London, to live with her successful lawyer friend, Emma, planning to put all the events that transpired behind her and embarking on a new life.
In London, Delia finds work with the slightly shady and dubious Kurt Spicer, owner of PR agency Twist and Shout along with fellow newbie team mate Stephanie. Alongside this, she keeps in touch with her old enemy turned cyber friend ‘Peshawari Naan’ and tries to get accustomed to the London life, one day at a time. Enter Adam West, a journalist who seems to have an agenda against Kurt and ‘Twist & Shout’. Thinking that keeping on Adam’s good side might be beneficial for the agency, Delia agrees to meet him one day and after a particularly disastrous meeting, leaves her client folder behind, giving Adam perfect fodder to blackmail her.
What transpires after this is what makes up the rest of the story, where we find that things aren’t always what they seem, people can be helpful in ways that we cannot imagine and our spirited, fiery heroine is capable of a lot of things which she herself did not realise. I do not want to give away more of the story here, as, dear reader, I would want you to discover the the rest of the tale yourself! However, this book has some amazing characters, especially our brave, humorous, talented and supremely gutsy heroine Delia. Delia also has a hidden talent, she is an expert caricature artist, who loves to draw and write comics in her spare time and has been working on a comic called ‘The Fox’. All credit goes to Mhairi for writing this brilliant book and interspersing ‘The Fox’ into various situations in Delia’s life.
I was also particularly impressed with the development of Adam West’s character, he came in as a slightly suspect character who was ‘posh’ and a little bit superior in his attitude, all cynicism and looking down his nose at the red haired Geordie girl with the questionable fashion sense, but as the reader got to know him, they couldn’t help but fall a little in love with him. He really, really redeemed himself, especially towards the end of the novel and that letter! Oh that letter that he wrote to Delia….swoon…. Some justification for Paul’s appalling behaviour and his cheating ways is also given and although as a reader I still did not sympathise with him, I understood what drove his behaviour.
Kudos to Mhairi for writing another winner! This book made me laugh, cry, sigh and read until the wee hours of the night! I loved the story and apart from the heroine Delia, I also loved the other characters and their quirks! The reclusive but witty Peshawari Naan, Delia’s shy, gamer brother Ralph, the posh journalist Adam West who hid a heart of gold, the successful lawyer Emma who has Delia’s best interests at heart, Stephanie who is Delia’s coffee buddy, confidante and partner in all crimes (justified or otherwise) and Kurt, the seedy, two-faced boss who likes to live the London life and work with dodgy, immoral celebrities.
This book gets a rightful four and a half star rating and I hope Mhairi keeps writing more of her fabulous books for us readers! I, for one am keenly waiting for her next masterpiece!