Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlaneDon't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via Edelweiss
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: Chick Lit, contemporary romance
Pages: 432
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on September 10, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
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Internationally bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane delivers a funny, romantic, heartfelt novel perfect for fans of Josie Silver or Sally Thorne, and anyone who loves Bridget Jones!

You always remember your first love... don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat... what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth... or a second chance with the one that got away?

My Review:

You probably have a song running through your head right now. At least, I know I did every time I even thought about this title. I think I read this book in the hopes of getting the earworm out,  that song by Simple Minds, in the back of mine. That it was part of the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club is what makes it oh so appropriate for this story.

Because Georgina and Lucas never forgot each other, or their sweet, secret end-of-high-school romance – even though it all turned to ashes.

We meet up with Georgina and Lucas more than a decade later, and life has, not surprisingly, taken a few twists and turns since the last time they saw each other – the night when everything went pear-shaped.

Georgina doesn’t seem to be doing all that well at, well, adulting. She’s 30, unmarried, semi-attached and doesn’t have a career or even a steady job. She also just seems to be one of those people to whom things just happen. She’s great at making funny stories about all of the unfortunate things that happen to her and the terrible situations in which she finds herself, but she’s also the recipient of all of her family’s well-meaning pity and the butt of all their jokes.

Just when it seems that things couldn’t go much further downhill, she’s fired from the worst job in the world and surprises her boyfriend in flagrante delicto – in the middle of boinking someone else.

Then Lucas comes back into her life – or rather she walks into his pub – and he doesn’t even remember her – though she has never forgotten him.

Or does he just not want to be gutted yet again?

Escape Rating B: In the end, I liked this but didn’t love it.

The beginning put me off a bit. On the one hand, it’s the setup for the whole story, their sweet high school romance that ends in heartbreak. On that other hand, the way that part of the story fades to black, we’re all pretty sure what happened next. We know more than enough to see it coming from miles away, even though Georgina seems to be a willing participant in her own destruction.

As it turns out, we only sort of knew what happened, and we are only able to kind of guess what the result was. And it’s both better and worse than what we thought it was. But that initial assumption hangs over the whole story like the Sword of Damocles while the reader waits for it to fall and explain what happened way back when – and since.

That sword casts a long and dark shadow in more ways than one.

It killed the relationship between Lucas and Georgina – and it left Georgina with the metric butt-load of self-esteem issues that one expects. She sabotages herself at every turn because she feels like she’s responsible for what went wrong – even though she wasn’t. And still isn’t.

The story also feels like it exists in that limbo between chick lit and romance, and that it’s much, much more chick lit than it is a romance. There is an eventual happy ending, but the true heart of the story is Georgina’s relationship with her friends, her somewhat dysfunctional relationship with her family, and her eventual liberation and yes, catharsis when she finally lets out all the demons that have been eating her all along.

In the end, Georgina Horspool learns to not just love herself, but also stand up for herself. And when she does, she discovers that Lucas never did forget about her. They both just needed to grow up and get there the long way around to reach their happy ending.

P.S. That damn song is STILL stuck in my head!

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