So this was very cute and also sad at parts. I loved how McFarlane pretty much has you disliking the hero for a good portion of this book (who wouldn’t?) before allowing him to grow on you as he did the heroine. I thought the book was very good at showing how damaging school can be to those who were and are bullied. I felt for Anna so much. And I have to say that Anna and her relationship with her sister was heart-warming. I also loved her friendship with her besties Michelle and Dan. Not a five star romance read (we don’t get any love scenes) but a very good slow burn.
“Here’s Looking at You” has Anna Alessi debating going to her old school reunion. Anna is not successful and is seen as attractive by members of the opposite sex. This is totally different than how she was in school and still has scars left over from that and the subsequent bad relationships she was in. Anna is pushed to go though and then she runs across James Fraser who was behind an incident that still leaves Anna in tears. He doesn’t recognize her and Anna is happy she will never see him again. Until her newest project causes her and James to be thrown together. Anna doesn’t want to remind James about who she was back in school, and James is going through his own personal problems as well. He still finds himself thinking more and more of Anna and wanting to be her friend.
So this was really good. Anna had so many layers. And I thought it was interesting to see a woman who is still not comfortable in her own skin still succeeding at her day job (history professor). Anna likes her routine, but finds it’s become a mess after she starts interacting with James more and more. And I have to say that it was great that Anna wasn’t initially lusting after him. What happened between them during school really did leave her a mess so she associates him with negative things. It was great to see how she started to see him as a friend (before he bungles things again).
James initially got on my nerves. He seems to view lying just as something someone does. When he doesn’t want to admit to his colleagues that his wife has left him, he starts a white lie about seeing someone else (which who would think this makes you look better?) And then from there it quickly gets to be a mess with people thinking he is dating Anna. James also looks down on his colleagues, Anna initially, her sister, and just about everyone. It takes a while for the wanker to fall off James, but it does. I also realized for the first time in a long time I was okay with the two leads not getting together. Just James learning how to be a real friend was nice to read.
The secondary characters were great. I cracked up at the scene of Anna’s sister and her fiancee doing wedding vows.
The writing was good, though the flow was a bit up and down. I think jumping back and forth between Anna and James is what did it. I love in McFarlane’s latest books she sticks with the heroine and we get to see everything through her eyes. I know this was and sometimes is a thing in romance books that we must see the hero’s point of view too, but I am okay with skipping over it when it adds nothing to the story. This time it does add to the story and I think it gives you (the reader) an interesting insight into Jamie.
The ending was pretty great I thought, though once again McFarlane does a fade to black.