Mhairi McFarlane has become one of my favorite romance authors. I’ve read a number of her books, and I’m working through her whole collection. I ended up buying It’s Not Me, It’s You (2015) because it was not available at my library. I’ve always enjoyed McFarlane’s writing even though the English slang sometimes confounds me, but this one was a little disappointing.
Delia Moss has a job that seems very much like The Office except there is no Jim around to make it bearable. Yet she enjoys her life with Paul, her boyfriend of ten years. They have a wonderful home and a dog they both love. However, when Delia finds out that Paul has been cheating on her, she is devastated. With her life in tangles and struggling at her job, Delia quits and heads south to London to live with her best friend, Emma.
It’s Not You, It’s Me is the most unromantic of all McFarlane’s books that I’ve read so far. At first, I wasn’t even sure if it was supposed to be a romance or if there was a main love interest. When Delia arrives in London, she primarily interacts with three different men. The first is Kurt. He is Australian and her new boss. He acts oddly and without principle and is not very likable.
However, the other two men were also problematic. The first is a mystery man from Delia’s hometown whom she started speaking with on the internet when he was trolling the councilmen in the comments sections of her publicity posts. They got along well enough, but I was turned off by his trolling–especially when that was the only thing I knew about him. The second man, Adam, Delia met through work. Adam constantly called her by the wrong name, stole her client folder and threatened to tell her boss if she didn’t give him information about her company.
Both these men become more appealing as you get further into the book. Unfortunately, Delia became less and less likeable as the book wore on. Delia discovers pretty early on that her boss is a lying, disloyal, arsehole. Yet she continues to put her own career and reputation at risk, even dragging Joe in to help her create a fake website for their fake news. Besides some mild interest in what was going to happen, I didn’t find the storyline around Delia’s job very compelling.
***SPOILERS*** What was unforgiveable, in my opinion, was when Delia went along with Kurt and told the police that Adam had exposed himself to her on the street. Now, I don’t know the specific legal differences between England and the United States, but in the U.S. she could have gotten herself arrested for false reporting (which she deserved), and Adam could have been arrested and charged, risking having to register as a sex offender. Even in the book, he’s taken away by the police in handcuffs. Yes, it was Kurt’s idea, but Delia should have had enough principles and backbone to do what was right. Adam was really mad, but we don’t hear much else about it.
The book really didn’t have much romance at all until close to the end of the book. Then Adam suddenly turned from a heartless blackmailer into a man who was in love with the woman who had lied about him to the police. McFarlane writes some magical romance, and it finally started feeling like what I had been expecting. But she didn’t give them any time to get to know each other before she sent Delia running back to Paul! Adam had, not surprisingly, turned out to be the perfect man. He was even secretly rich! After all of their interactions, though, I honestly could not understand why Adam didn’t hate Delia. ***END SPOILERS***
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