9 January 2014

Book Review: Here's Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlane

"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?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Here's Looking At You as a paperback or an eBook now.

At the end of 2012, I read and loved a debut novel called 'You Had Me At Hello' by a brand new author called Mhairi McFarlane. That book very quickly became a best-seller, and rightfully so because it was a fantastic read. Luckily for her new fans, Mhairi was back at the end of last year with a brand new book, Here's Looking At You. I started it over the Christmas holidays and it became my bedtime reading. I looked forward to picking it up each night and getting back into Anna's story and find out how this romantic tale was going to end!

Anna Alessi is a Professor at History at university, and absolutely loves her job. She really knows her stuff when it comes to history, but when it comes to romance and relationships, she honestly hasn't got a clue. She's recently turned to internet dating, but hasn't quite managed to find her Mr Right there yet either. When a work project leads her to get involved with a new company, and a face from her not-so-happy past makes an appearance, Anna's world is turned upside down. James Fraser is someone Anna would rather forget, but he's quickly becoming a frequent visitor into her life, and he seems a totally different person to when he was a teenager. Anna still isn't sure whether to trust him again, but she isn't sure she can stop falling for him anyway...

While this book took me a little while longer to get into than Mhairi's first one, it was still just as enjoyable and I loved not knowing where the story was heading, and exactly what Anna was going to do about James. I liked Anna a lot - she had a pretty bad time of it as a teenager, and we get to see a glimpse of this at the start of the book, it did make me cringe a bit, poor old Anna! The idea of bumping into someone who you didn't like at school is a realistic one, and it certainly made me wonder how I would deal with it if I ended up bumping into people I would rather not have done! Anna actually handled the situation quite well, although a few changes since then certainly helped her with that! It's inspiring to see how she's pulled herself through her tough times and has made a success of herself, I enjoyed this aspect of the book. Anna is very likeable throughout the book though, and you certainly want to keep reading her story to find out more.

James is one of those characters I wanted to dislike, but I just couldn't! He was really nice, and shows how people can change from their immature, hormone-ridden teenage selves. Anna really wasn't sure whether to trust him, but I felt sorry for him due to his own personal strife that he's going through, and I really hoped Anna would give him a chance and allow him to prove himself to be a good man once and for all. It's just a shame he happens to hang around with the biggest pig in the world called Lawrence, the man we are definitely meant to hate! The more minor characters in the story were fantastic too. I especially loved Anna's sister Aggy, who is engaged to be married and is excitedly planning her wedding. She provided quite a few funny moments, but I loved the relationship she had with her sister too, it was lovely to read.

The progression of the story was great to read, it moved at a good pace that allowed things to happen quite naturally and I really enjoyed Mhairi's writing. There was lots in the book to make me laugh, and a few more serious and emotional moments too. I felt really sorry for Anna being so affected by what she went through as a teenager, and it's a stark reminder to us all to treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. There's a good message in this book, and I felt it really delivered on that, especially with the characters within the story that I really did care about and wanted a happy ending for. I also have to say I really enjoyed the side plot of Anna's job and the few historical snippets I learnt throughout the book too, it made the book a little more fun to read for me! This is a fantastic second novel from Mhairi McFarlane and certainly cements her as one of my new favourite Chick Lit authors that I will be looking forward to reading for many years to come. A fab book, and a must-read from me!


  1. I can't wait to read this one, although I know it doesn't come out in the US until this summer!

  2. This is on my list to buy!