Title: Last Night
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Two best friends.
One missed chance.
And a night that changes everything.
Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since they were eighteen. Now in their 30s, the four are still as close as ever, Thursday pub quiz night is still sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed.
Maybe Eve should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed sometimes thinks about it too.
Then one night, in an instant, all their lives change forever. And, as Eve learns she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought, she also discovers she isn’t the only person keeping secrets…
Last Night surprised me in just how much I was drawn into Eve’s story. Eve, Susie, Ed and Justin all feel like such real, well-developed characters that I could imagine knowing them in real life, which only makes what happens in the 400 or so pages that follow even more heart-wrenching, thought-provoking and entertaining.
I started this book without reminding myself what exactly it was about, and I think this is a great way to enjoy it, so I’m not going to give much away about this plot here. But what I will say, is that I found Eve to be such a likeable character that I couldn’t help myself becoming completely engrossed in Last Night. It’s a story of friendship and complicated feelings among friends – romantically, platonically, and those devastating feelings of loss and everything that comes with it.
I loved that Mhairi McFarlane made the characters in this novel less than perfect – they each had their faults (some more than others) and none of them was the ‘perfect’ person. This felt so much more realistic. I could see myself as one of Eve’s friends, trying to navigate their early 30s together with all that baggage and emotion that comes from knowing someone since their school days.
A few parts of the plot were a little predictable perhaps, but there were also plenty of surprises along the way. I think the author addressed grief in a brilliant way, never shying away from it but showing how life does go on, even if you don’t think you want it to.
There’s also plenty of wit and dry humour within this novel, taking it away from being overly sad at times to striking the perfect balance. It managed to provide escapism for me, at a time when I’m sure many of us want this in a book, whilst still feeling realistic and emotional – you may need tissues for this one! I don’t want to give any more away, but this is definitely one of those novels I’d file under ’emotionally intelligent, well-written romance’. I’ve already read (and really enjoyed) another novel by Mhairi, and Last Night has reminded me that I want to keep reading through her back catalogue!
Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins UK, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.