by Mhairi McFarlane
I read this book as part of the read-along organised by Tandem Collective who kindly gifted me a paperback copy. A group of us recently read the book over five days, stopping along the way to discuss. If you’d like to see what we discussed, you can catch up with the read-along in my Instagram story highlights.
Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.
But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.
In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction…
They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?
I was really excited to have been given the opportunity to read Mhairi McFarlane‘s new book, ‘Last Night’. I have only read one book by this author before but I’ve heard only great things about the others and had been meaning to give her work another try!
Back in 2019, I read ‘Don’t Your Forget About Me‘, a great 3 star read and one full of comedy with a touch of romance. I don’t typically read the blurb before starting a book, so I had expected ‘Last Night’ to be similar in tone: a light hearted rom-com. When we reached the first stopping point in the Tandem read-along, however, it became clear that this book was a lot deeper, with well written, realistic themes of grief and loss.
I won’t spoil anything by telling you what happens, but the group of friends this book follows have their lives turned upside down following the events of the previous night (hence the title).
As well as the plot, which I thought was strong, I also felt that the characters were well-developed. It’s easy to feel envy for this multi-layered group of friends, who seem so fun to be around. I’d love to join the pub quiz with Susie, Eve, Ed and Justin, although perhaps not Hester, Ed’s girlfriend! The leading character is Eve and I found her to be really likable and realistic, especially as she navigates grief and pulling her life together in the aftermath.
I found the book to be emotional but very realistic and I was impressed at how the author managed to blend sadness and comedy so seamlessly. One of the things I liked the most was the cultural references. In some cases authors would chose to include fictional shops, films, artists and celebrities in their stories, but there’s something about the mention of the Next sale or the Pride of Britain awards that brings a smile to my face.
This is one of those books that makes you think about life and encourages you to make the most of every opportunity because you never know what’s around the corner. Whilst there are elements of romance, there is more of a focus on love for your friends. I’d definitely recommend it and will be checking out more work by Mhairi McFarlane in the future.
Overall rating: “Last Night” by Mhairi McFarlane is an emotional read but it’s still full of wit and funny moments. The themes of grief and loss are well written and realistic and the successful balance between the two make this a great 5 star read for me!
See my other reviews of books by Mhairi McFarlane here: