Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: Who’s That Girl?

By Becky Gulc

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.
 (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

Mhairi McFarlane has fast become one of my favourite authors over the past couple of years, her novel It’s Not Me, It’s You was one of my favourite reads of last year, so I was very happy to get the opportunity to review her latest novel, Who’s That Girl?.

As the synopsis suggests, Edie’s life as she knows it is turned on its head following events at her colleagues’ wedding. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say I felt for Edie. This is a case of a woman wrongly getting the blame for something that is clearly Jack the groom’s fault, even if Edie had somewhat naively become a bit emotionally attached to him when she shouldn’t have. I felt Edie’s excruciating pain as she desperately tries to escape the wedding without being noticed. The backstabbing ‘friend’ Louis she attends the wedding with is a great character to hate. And the groom himself, well, I was just hoping he’d get his just desserts the whole way through.

I’m sure everyone makes an error of judgement with work colleagues at some point, unfortunately this incident isn’t one that Edie and her colleagues are going to get over quickly. Indeed, her colleagues effectively make it impossible for her to continue in her post and even when she is out of sight the bullying continues. Thank goodness her boss believes in her, and Edie is sent to work on an actor’s autobiography in her hometown of Nottingham, many miles away from the office and the brewing witch-hunt. The thing is, Edie couldn’t wait to escape Nottingham first time around, and with a difficult relationship with her father and sister, will it provide her with the respite she’s needing right now? And will this actor be as troublesome to work with as she’s expecting given the last ghostwriter resigned?

Once again, this book is effortless to read and I quickly connected with the character of Edie. I felt for her the whole way through. She’s a strong woman and despite people making life unfairly difficult for her, she soldiers on and doesn’t wallow in self-pity, even if she wants to some of the time. I thought the prospect of going to live back in her childhood home, where family dynamics have not changed, was wonderfully covered. Not something anyone really wants in their thirties. Thankfully two of Edie’s oldest friends are back in town, and all find themselves going through difficult times and it’s the perfect time to reconnect.

Edie manages to make new connections too. I loved the relationship she develops with her father’s neighbour, much to the annoyance of her sister; she’s quite a character. The actor, Elliot, is also a great character, as is his brother. I loved how my presumptions were changed quite quickly and there were some great scenes involving Elliot. Mhairi definitely has a knack for bringing supporting characters to life, they never feel like they’re there as unnecessary spare parts, I always care about them or laugh with them too.

This is quite a chunky read but it never felt too long. I admit I wasn’t too sure about the closing chapters to begin with, it wasn’t quite going the way I thought it would, but actually now it makes sense to the character and how relationships evolve in the novel. All I’ll say is the last page left me with some hope! Another fantastic read from Mhairi.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK  for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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