I slid After Hello (2017) by Mhairi McFarlane into my reading pile as a little break. It’s a short novella and a follow-up to another McFarlane romance novel, You Had Me at Hello. Rachel and Ben didn’t have much time together at the end of the first book when they finally got together. After Hello allows them a slightly longer happily ever after. However, it’s hard to have a novel with no obstacles to overcome, so Rachel and Ben do face some challenges in this second story.
Rachel and Ben met their first day in college and were best friends throughout school. After an unexpected “sleepover” and some misunderstandings split them apart at the end of college, they didn’t see each other for years. But when Ben moved back to Manchester with his new wife, Rachel and Ben reconnected. As I mentioned in my review of You Had Me at Hello, I had a hard time with the romantic lead being married for most of the book. I really liked the main characters and their interactions, but it was my least favorite of McFarlane’s novels so far.
After Hello occurs a couple of years after the end of the first book. Rachel and Ben have bought a home and are living happily together. Mindy and Ivor, Rachel’s friends that got together in the last book are getting ready for their wedding.
Rachel is very happy with Ben. But then she hears that one of Ben’s coworkers has a crush on him. And Ben seems to spend a lot of time with her. And he strongly defends her when her name comes up. Rachel still remembers that Ben was married when they got together. She’s afraid that it’s Karma, and now she understands what it’s like to be on the other side. Maybe Ben was just never the type to settle down. Why would she think her relationship with him would be any different?
Rachel’s fears manifest in her lashing out and she and Ben fight for the first time. Fortunately, this is still a romance novel, however short. Rachel and Ben figure out their differences, strengthening their relationship. Rachel’s friends end the book with a beautiful wedding.
Even though the original wasn’t my favorite book of McFarlane’s, and I probably would have preferred an extended story for a different book, I still enjoyed this. Once I started reading, it was hard to put down and I couldn’t help but get caught up in their story.
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