Friday, 8 April 2016

Book Review: Who's That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane

An achingly funny story from the author of the bestselling YOU HAD ME AT HELLO.
When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?
Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.
When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

I've been waiting for this book to come out and leapt on it as soon as I could my hands on it. Thanks to Netgalley and Avon for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I love Mhairi's books. They're not cosy little rom-coms; they are full-on PMSL, LMFAO, sweary stories for those of us who like a bit of attitude in our reading. 

Edie, the heroine of Who's That Girl is far from perfect. She snogged someone else's husband, on their wedding day, and boy, does she pay for it. Even though Edie had been taken in by smarmy player Jack, she gets the blame. Everyone in her London life turns against her; even her so-called gay best friend turns out to be the archetypal backstabbing queen. The 'wronged bride' and Edie's so-called friends launch a vicious online hate campaign against her, forcing her into hiding. It's a relief when her boss, Richard, who thankfully does believe in her, sends her on a mission back in her home town of Nottingham. 

Only it's not such a relief to be back at home. Anyone who has made a life for themselves and then returns home, tail between their legs for whatever reason, will know that it's hard. Old family resentments and sibling rivalries flare, and Edie's younger sister Meg acts like the truculent teen, making it hard for Edie to settle back in. Their poor Dad is stuck in the middle of them, and he is still dealing with his own grief at the loss of their mother years ago. The three of them have been unable to move on. Mhairi deals with the serious issues of grief and depression with a touching sensitivity, contrasting with the hilarious scenes between the two girls reverting back to flouncing and bitching at each other. 

Margot, the dragon lady next door, provides a lot of insight for Edie. Disregarded by Meg and Edie's father, she is a fabulous lady who is stuck in her glamorous past. And she can bake a mean cake. She helps Edie come to term with her mistakes and past errors of judgement. 

Edie's mission is to ghost write the memoirs of the hugely popular film & TV star Elliot Owen. Edie's initial resistance to him and his world of fame is broken down when she gets to know the real Elliot. He really is a sweetie, and I'd have fallen for him - and his brother Fraser! 

I think this book is about Edie discovering who she really is, and about finding who you can rely on. Edie has genuine friends in both Nick and Hannah. 

I did question Edie's decision near the end of the book – okay it is a very mature decision to make and I can see why she does what she does, but the romantic in me was screaming at her for a good few pages. 

Again Mhairi has had me enthralled from beginning to end of Who's That Girl. I hate it when a great book ends! 

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