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Just Last Night

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Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday pub trivia night 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?

416 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2021

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About the author

Mhairi McFarlane

24 books6,656 followers
Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree.

After some efforts at journalism, she started writing novels. It’s Not Me, It’s You is her third book. She lives in Nottingham, with a man and a cat.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,806 reviews
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 11 books64k followers
February 5, 2021
I wish I'd written this, but then again, I don't think I could stand to give up the chance to read it, having no idea what was going to happen. Be warned, if you're a sensitive sap like me, this might be a gutwrenching read for you, but it's also SO worth it. I absolutely adored this. Mhairi McFarlane's voice is like no one else's.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,039 reviews462 followers
August 17, 2022

. . . . . .

Mhairi McFarlane has always made me laugh till my ribs ached. She's given us enchanting heroines who take no verbal prisoners and who bravely pick themselves up off the floor after life (and occasionally a straying lover) have metaphorically tossed them there. McFarlane's magic with words has enchanted me and often left me "stood there, slack-jawed," as she herself might have said once or twice.

But I don't think I have ever been reduced to tears by any of her previous novels - and I have read every one of them! Every expression of loss and bereavement in Just Last Night came across as painfully authentic. I was moved time and again by each new experience without Susie that would send daggers of grief through Eve's heart. But when some of Susie's darkest secrets are revealed, Eve's rage knows no bounds. "Emotional roller coaster" is too mild a description for what Eve goes through: Eve is now angry AND grieving the loss of her best friend.

Eve did us proud in that scene where she finally has her say about whether the remaining members of their gang could ever survive and move on now that the "truth" was out. (Oh, and that "Friends with drawbacks" line was priceless!) And don't get me started on all those verbal gems McFarlane used to describe Eve's epiphany: "Ed didn't choose this moment, he's using this moment."

Finlay's backstory, when we finally got to hear it, jolted me like a bolt of electricity. He was the voice of reason that no one would listen to. Evie was not afraid to cross swords with him, but even she had to admit: "I have amateur hour tangoed with an absolute ballroom professional here. His analysis is a series of controlled explosions."

I really enjoyed this emotionally engrossing story. In previous novels, McFarlane's heroines never seemed to want to venture further than their specific corners of the world. Big points to Eve for wanting to broaden her horizons - no spoilers here! You should definitely read this book for yourself and see if the gang somehow survived and managed to win at the game of life (and that darned pub quiz!)

Ending on a high note: the very last chapter reminded me of the final scene in Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies and Videotape... very fitting!

I highly, highly, highly recommend this very wonderful novel, by one of my favourite authors. Well done!

N.B. Just picked up a Kindle ebook copy for $3.99! Not sure if this is a sale, but I scooped it up. (Posted July 15/2021)

Eve in her younger days:
. . . . . . . . . . .

That dress she wore to dinner with Finlay: PERFECT!
. . . . .

AUDIOBOOK - P.S. I read the e-book edition back in mid-May but I started missing the wonderful characters so much that I ordered the audiobook from my local library. Really excellent narration by Maya Saroya. (I must confess that I replayed some sections of the cd's twice! Just so awwwwworthy!)
I really enjoy McFarlane's wit, intelligence and wry sense of humour. Hopefully I can find a few more of McFarlane's audiobooks. So entertaining while you slog away at work! I highly recommend this audiobook: very well done!)
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,502 reviews24.5k followers
March 18, 2021
Beware when you start reading Mhairi McFarlane's latest novel, you are going to have a hard task putting it down until it is finished. You can't have a much better recommendation than this in a story of navigating friendships, loss, grief, secrets, abuse, and personal relationships. Quirky 34 year old goth, Eve Harris's best friend since primary school has been the unstoppable, sardonic and witty Susie, their circle expanding at sixth form with the addition of the organised and supportive Ed Cooper, and the gay, irreverent clown, taboo breaking Justin. The group could not have been closer in the years since then, coming together for their weekly pub quiz evenings at The Gladstone on Thursdays, never winning but that has never been the purpose of their evenings together.

This time has been a bittersweet experience for Eve, she has been in love with Ed throughout the years whilst he has been with his girlfriend, Hester, for all that time, a Hester that has never been liked by any of them. After a painful and despairing night in which Ed and Hester get engaged, a devastating tragedy has Eve breaking apart, laid low with an unbearable grief that she cannot see beyond, how can she possibly begin to reconstruct her life? In a box of journals and letters Eve comes to acquire, she inadvertently finds herself reading a letter and learns a secret that rocks the world as she knows it. She may not yet be aware, but this secret is to open the path to come to terms with her grief, understand her flawed friends and herself better, see perhaps that Susie's perspectives and thoughts might not always have been accurate, and ultimately welcome the entry of someone in her life she has not seen for some time, resulting in a surprising change in her perception of who she is and shift the entire direction of her life.

McFarlane is shaping into a writer of great emotional depth, sparkling humour and wit, and with the capacity to create and develop charismatic characters that feel so authentically real and who have issues that will resonate with almost all of us, having either experienced them personally or become acquainted with them through family and close friends. This is a beautifully written and enchanting read, it's not often I say this, but I liked almost every character with one of the exceptions being Susie's dementia suffering father after what is revealed near the end of the book. This is the perfect escapist read for our times, although I should warn that you might need tissues, there could well be tears. Highly recommended. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,478 reviews29.7k followers
September 30, 2021
after the hiccup with my first MM book and learning to go into her novels not expecting romance, this was a completely different experience, and one for the better.

again, the cover and tagline are misleading. they scream second chance romance, but this is not that. this is about how a tragic accident shakes the foundation of a strong friend group, not only because of the loss, but because of a secret it unearths. its about grief, people showing their true colours, acceptance and forgiveness, and finding the strength to move on. life is very much the focus of this story, not romance.

filled with british humour, a mini-road trip, and some heavy/deep topics of real life, this is story that covers a full range of emotions. still wish the romance was explored more, but for a chick-lit/womens fiction novel, its right on the mark.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Farrah.
221 reviews557 followers
June 15, 2021
Perfect balance of humor and depth with very authentic writing!

I absolutely LOVED this book! It's like McFarlane was born to write this, she did such an outstanding job.
The characters were so relatable.
The plot was interesting and the romance was sweet and natural, with no 'STEAMY' included (or needed) to make it engaging 💛
Profile Image for Madita.
470 reviews16.3k followers
October 1, 2022
Lol I thought this was something completely different I WAS KRISSED SO HARD.

My book says:
"Two best friends. One missed chance. One night that changes everything"

So I obviously thought "Omg friends to lovers with maybe an unrequited crush but now we find out both love each other"

Jokes on you because that it not what happened.
I was on page 60 when I started crying.
Then I felt betrayed.
Then I hated every character.
Then I realized that this is women's fiction.
Then I was even more confused on what was happening.
Then the book was over.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
439 reviews971 followers
May 29, 2021
A heart-breaking, and yet uplifting tale of friendship, love, forgiveness and loss

Eve Harris and her three best mates Susie, Justin and Ed have known each other since they were young, and are really close. Except Eve is secretly in love with Ed, who is engaged to someone else.. Eve isn't the only one keeping secrets though, and then one night, their lives are drastically changed forever.

I loved this buddy read, all of us were really engaged and invested in Eve's story, which was an addictive page turner! However, we were woefully underprepared for the heart-break and devastation! We often stayed up too late reading, messaging each other in real time, constantly bouncing ideas, thoughts and feelings off one and other 💛💙

This was my third book by Mhairi McFarlane, so I thought I was ready for an emotional but fun rom-com, but I wasn't prepared to cry so much, feel such despair, anger and grief! Last Night was significantly darker and grittier than her last book (If I Never Met You). It was at times painfully hard to read, and was also more about friendships, rather than a steamy rom-com.

Nevertheless, there was some great British banter, a good ol' pub quiz, a jaunt to Edinburgh, some cute animals, and flawed, real characters, some of whom I loved, and some not so much... The book was full of messy families, friendships and secrets. It was a bit of a surreal experience actually, because this was set in Nottingham, West Bridgford to be exact, and I lived there for 4 years when I was a student! I remember some of the landmarks mentioned, such as the Trent Bridge cricket ground, so that brought back some nostalgia.

The writing was engrossing, with some great moments of humour, and I adored getting to know Eve and her friends.
Eve, I adored! It felt like she was directly telling me her story down the pub, or over a cuppa. She was such a loyal friend, so trusting and funny, and yet her life felt like it was a bit on hold, despite what she tried to tell herself. Eve was trapped in her cycle of unrequited love, and it made me think, if 'the event' hadn't happened, would she still be stuck doing that? Probably, and sadly yes! However, the event did happen, and Eve changed, she went on a journey of self discovery, showing such rawness and vulnerability. Her character growth was huge, as she began to recognise her naivety, her reluctance to move on from the past and her blindness to certain things. Ah I just loved her and wanted to reach into the pages to give her a hug!

The other girls felt that Eve forgave too easily, and part of me agrees, but part of me liked it? These friendships were very old, and the characters felt like real people, who made and owned real mistakes. Sometimes they all behaved appallingly, but they all had real issues and they hurt each other and themselves, which I thought felt very true to real life. None of the friendships turned out to be perfect, each had their problems, but they were still strong and lasting. I guess by the end, because Eve was to forgiving, accepting and generous, then I found myself feeling forgiving too.

Despite us thinking this was a romance, there was fairly little romance. There was some in the second half of the book, but I wanted a bit more of it! I felt like we had only just begun to see a glimpse of the romantic potential, and then the book wrapped up! Besides that though, this book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, and I'm still not over it..

So would I recommend this? Absolutely! But don't come looking for a happy rom-com, and definitely bring some tissues! 🤗🤗🤗🤗

Buddy read with Aoife, Kim, Jess and other Fran 💃
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,857 reviews1,370 followers
January 27, 2021
Eve Harris, aging Goth (well, she’s 34) has been in love with Ed Cooper for sixteen years but he’s with Hester who no one in their tight knit group especially likes. Her life is stalled from job to love until one night when their lives are shattered.

As a writer Mhairi McFarlane had me at hello but for me this is her best book yet. Although this book deals extremely well with difficult events being somewhat darker in tone than her other novels, her lively, engaging writing style and humour are never far below the surface. I love the way it’s written with witty Eve talking to the reader which makes you feel her emotional turmoil more deeply. All the characters are well developed but I particularly like Eve as she very individual, clever, funny, you just know she’d be great company at the pub, she’s loyal and kind. The friendship of Susie, Eve, Ed and Justin is something to envy. Their dialogue is smart, laugh out loud, sardonic and ironic with some sadness at times. There are several jaw droppers as Eve goes on an emotional journey of self discovery taking the reader through a range of emotions. I really like the 180 we do on Susie's brother Finlay who is nothing like you imagine as he reveals his secrets and we come understand family rifts. There’s a lovely feline character going by the grand name of Roger Piecrust Harris and a chihuahua/Yorkie cross called Leonard! I greatly enjoy the ‘Trip’ to Nottingham and the suburb I was born in near the famous cricket ground and the journey to Edinburgh with Fin and Eve is probably the closest I’ll get to ‘Auld Reekie’ this year so big thanks for that!! I really like the pop culture and film references which keep appearing throughout and add a fun element to the storytelling.

Overall, I love this book. It transports you, takes you away from the now (massive thank you) and gives you some thoughtful but fun hours in lovely company.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Harper Collins, Harper Fiction for the much appreciated arc for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
May 6, 2021
This was an odd reading experience for me, tbh. I was really excited to pick this up because I really enjoyed the last Mhairi McFarlane book I read, but unfortunately I didn't enjoy this one quite as much. I went into this one wanting a romance, but it ended up being more of a story about grief and loss (which is fine!!! but it just wasn't what I wanted out of this) and it didn't really work for me the way that I was hoping it would. While this wasn't necessarily for me, if you enjoy a harder-hitting plot alongside your romance, you will probably really enjoy this one and I recommend checking it out!

CW: death of a loved one, dementia, cheating
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,334 reviews1,821 followers
May 3, 2021
I'll just pick this up to kill an hour or two before dinner', she thought. 'That's all. Just dip my toe in and then read the rest later or tomorrow.. '

.. fast forward to four hours later when I have not even moved from the couch. I swear. No pee breaks, no food, nada. I love that feeling. Also I should've known better because not only is it me but it's also a McFarlane book.

Is my face covered in tears? Yes. Was this exactly what I (even limited #NoBlurber that I am) thought it would be? Nope. Did I love it anyway? Obviously.

This feels like the most McFarlane book to McFarlane since I read DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME in 2019. I've experimented with some of the author's backlist, read her most recent release, and now this one. But this is the closest I've got to that all-consuming feeling I first had a few years ago upon discovering this author. If you've read her before, you know exactly what I mean.

I'm honestly without any kind of words. I'm just feelings. I laughed, I cried, I did both some more, and mostly I just marveled at how good she is at creating complicated messes that don't feel like someone who is contriving to write about complicated messes. It feels like eavesdropping on real lives, people you sort've know, and are therefore invested in. No perfect specimens, no uncomplicated situations. Just real.

I still have a few McFarlane's to dip into but in looking back through my memories of what I have read I think where I waffle is sometimes I'm just not into the romance element. I'm here for the wit, the biting truthbombs, and the friendships, but sometimes I'm not sold on the romance. I do still think DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME tops the chart, even in that respect, but this was the closest I've had since. And just, overall, I loved every single thing about it, too.

If you've yet to try this author you absolutely must.

Full review to come.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Michelle .
846 reviews1,182 followers
June 18, 2021
So this may not have been the Rom-com I thought it was but that is more than okay because I thought this was spectacular!

Four best friends (Eve, Susie, Ed, & Justin) that have shared a bond for many years have their lives implode when one of them is accidentally killed. I was moved to tears on many occasions while reading this but there were light moments and humor to alleviate the sadness. I grew to love these characters, flaws and all. Eve is a friend that everyone should have in their life. I adored her so much and was rooting for her to find happiness through her grief. There is a romance to be had here even though it doesn't take place until the last half of the book and I was all for it. I turned the final page with glistening eyes and a smile on my face. What more could I ask for? 4 stars!
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,853 reviews1,493 followers
April 9, 2021
So I actually won this in a GoodReads giveaway. I know, right!!! She's a favorite author anyway, so I was thrilled when this showed up in time to be my birthday read, so I spent pretty much the entire day I took off work reading it and was engaged the entire time. Happy Birthday to me, indeed.

This is very much chick-lit and I was afraid for much of it that the romance would be disappointing; if it showed up at all because at about two-thirds I still had no indication if/who could plausibly play a romantic role with Eve (without being bitterly disappointing). And since it's a tight single-PoV that mattered.

And I worried about the heavy hand of grief that dominates the story, as well. We know from the blurb as well as a short After section that starts the book that perfectly illustrates Eve's devastation. So that hangs over the first third of the story as we jump back to Before and see their tight-knit friend group in their strength and glory. Eve is extremely tightly tied to all three of her best friends, so knowing it would end in tragedy could easily have overpowered the story. Further, this is exactly the kind of thing I have little tolerance for. And I mean both the deep grief and the foreshadowing casting a pall over the story.

Only McFarlane handles it so deftly that I was completely engrossed the entire way. I loved getting to know the friends. I loved the hints that Eve was a bit too naïve in her acceptance of at least some of them. And I loved that there were problematic aspects of almost all those relationship dynamics but without weakening the reality or strength of them. This is so powerfully done that McFarlane earns all her kudos, I think.

And I don't want to give anything away, and spoiler-tagging wouldn't really be adequate (it'd be either too much or too little). So I think I'll stop there more-or-less. I'll say that I was perfectly satisfied with the resolution of this story on all levels. Eve's personal growth is outstanding, but so is the growth in her friends. The romantic fall-out was everything it needed to be. In short, it came together strongly in every way I was aware of. So yeah, all the stars.

A note about Chaste: I was so caught up in the story that I can't remember if there was an actual steamy scene. I don't think there was. There's a non-sexual nearly-nude scene (the him, not the her) and an almost-sex-scene that gets aborted for reasons. So I think it was probably chaste?
Profile Image for Christy.
3,709 reviews31.6k followers
June 15, 2021
3 stars

When I saw reviews for this book I kept seeing things like 'enemies to lovers' and 'super emotional' and as someone who loves books with all the feels and the enemies to lovers, troupe I thought YES. This is the book for me. Honestly, I was so hyped up for this romance only to find out that it wasn't much of a romance at all. It was so late into the story and the first half (or more) was only about grief and secrets. It wasn't a bad book and maybe if I would have known it was more womens fiction and not been expecting a romance I would have enjoyed it more. I did like the hero and heroine and some of the side characters as well. I enjoy Mhairi McFarlene's writing and the second half of the book was much stronger than the first for me, but this just wasn't what I was looking for. 

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 3 stars
Narrator: Maya Saroya 
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Womens fiction 
Length: 10h 46m
Profile Image for Aoife - Bookish_Babbling.
275 reviews296 followers
May 27, 2021
I was not emotionally prepared for this book..the 🖤 is still active and no tears were shed, but I think it hit a little too close to home in places and I was perhaps in shutdown/self-preservation mode when others might tear up 🙈

Absolutely addictive BR experience with the glorious GR gal pals - I am so glad we decided to give this a whirl even if we did not quite know what we were getting ourselves into 😣
So addictive that every thought went into our Group chat & not a single update made it to GR...I think I was too 😱 - I do not know when that last happened to me!

PLZ DO NOT let the cutesy cover or blurb fool you - this book hit way harder than any of us anticipated when we decided on a last minute whim to pick it up. This is not a straight up romance & challenges the "nice guy" stereotype highlighting questionable behaviour which can be overlooked and I was here for the dressing down this character got when called on their BS. I had never read a book by Mhairi McFarlane before but am deffo curious to check out some of her back-catalogue now that I have an inkling for the kind of stories she tells & the characters she creates. Hopefully I'll be better prepared after this one 🤗

There were entertaining humorous moments + exchanges between the friends & I was 100% here for mid-thirties MCs finding one another 🥰
However I was utterly blindsided by the loss hinted at in the prologue and many of the friendship revelations kept me off-kilter for much of the read which made for somewhat sadder times as I am usually all in for the side characters. Thankfully some pulled through for Eve by the end but I am not sure I would be as forgiving of others!
The ending wrapped up a little too quickly + neatly for me & I would have liked to learn more about the love interest...we barely scratch the surface with him yet he brought so much to the table that I felt could have been way more explored. What made him fall for her? 🤷‍♀️

Despite not being remotely near the steamy romcom read I thought I was picking up I am very glad to have shared the reading experience with such wonderful friends as we metaphorically held each other's hands, mused and theorised trying to suss where this was going, who we could trust/believe and generally wth we had picked up 😅

3.5-4* read as eventho it blindsided me the writing was solid & ya can't beat British bants between buds. Not the books fault we didn't quite know what we were getting in to & the feelz it would trigger

******** "Pre-review" ********

Impromptu Goodreads Gal Pals group read - Take 4...maybe not planning ahead will be our magic sauce 🤗
Kimster, Fran, Jess & Franlopedia - I am excite and have no idea what this is about other than yay alternate timelines storytelling 🙃

PS - no idea why I thought there would alternating timelines 🤦‍♀️
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
843 reviews1,687 followers
September 6, 2021
I went in expecting it to be a romcom but it was not so. It was about friendship, and getting to know people and realizing that sometimes they are not as you thought them to be. No character was memorable for me and found it hard to connect with any of them. They were just so selfish.

It was not for me.
Profile Image for Lacey.
200 reviews335 followers
March 21, 2021
The worst thing about this book is that it took me only three hours to read it. After waiting over a year to get my paws on a new Mhairi McFarlane treasure, you would think I would try to make this one last—savoring it, stretching it out over a few days, at the very least—knowing full well that I wouldn't be getting another one for at least another year. But nope. I'm just not wired that way. And trust me, you won't be able to put Just Last Night down either. This is Mhairi at her very best.

A quick aside: Do not read the Publishers Weekly review of this book (the one on the B&N website) unless you want to be semi-spoiled. Not only does it reveal who exactly is killed—something that is left intentionally vague in the official synopsis and isn't revealed until the ~20% mark—but it also makes it fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain what the "life-changing" secret is that Eve (the MC) learns upon said friend's death (which, again, the reader doesn't discover for him/herself until halfway through the book). I was actually so sure that a major review—let alone one advertised on a bookseller's website—wouldn't be so free with the spoilers that I had half-convinced myself that it was intentional misdirection on their part to throw the reader off the scent. As it turns out, that was not the case; they were just careless.
June 1, 2022
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This is the fifth novel that I have read by Mhairi McFarlane and it is her best one yet. I said this in my review for her previous novel, If I Never Met You, but McFarlane is always improving as a writer. While Last Night presents readers with her trademark blend of humor of realism, the tone of the narrative sets it apart from the author's previous novels. Rather than focusing on a character coming to terms with a breakup—as with It’s Not Me, It’s You, Don't You Forget About Me, and If I Never Met YouLast Night centers around grief. The beginning of the novel informs us that our narrator and protagonist have lost someone close to her but we do not who or how until further down the storyline which looks back to the time before this loss. Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been best friends since they were in school and are now navigating their thirties together, still as closer as ever. Eve's feelings towards Ed however may be more than friendly which is not easy given that he has a girlfriend. After 'that night', this group of friends is no longer the same, and Eve discovers that perhaps they did not know each other, as well as they'd thought.
Last Night captures in painful clarity Eve's grief and sorrow. Throughout the course of the novel, Eve is forced to confront how her life has irrevocably changed. Not only did she lose one of the people she loved most in the world but to discover that that person was hiding something big from you only complicates matters. I found Eve's narrative to be compellingly introspective, and McFarlane depicts her feelings and emotions with great empathy. I really appreciated that the story focused on forgiveness and on nuanced characters capable of change. The humor was a bit less PG than her previous novels and it honestly made the story and the characters all the authentic. The romance here takes the backseat to Eve's character growth, and in some ways, it made those more romantic scenes all the sweeter. Also, at last, this novel avoids the unnecessary 'miscommunication' that always seems to happen in this genre. Then, to be fair, unlike McFarlane other books, I would not call Last Night a romcom (even if it has both romance and comedy).
I loved the cultural references, even if many of those references were lost on me, and the story's strong sense of place. Also, I am a sucker for stories with road trips and this had one so...

I thought that this was a very moving and funny story that definitely resonated with me. I loved the themes the author explored in this story and I was sad to reach the last page. McFarlane has truly outdone herself.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,676 reviews919 followers
April 1, 2021
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

Wow. Just wow. This was so good. Probably because it went in unexpected places. I thought I was getting set up for one romance, but another one swooped in and it felt right and I loved it. I also loved that the main character, Eve, realizes that she deserves and needs more out of her whole unrequited love thing. I thought that all of the characters in this one, Eve, Susie, Justin, Ed, and Fin, were very developed. I didn't want this one to end at all and re-read it twice already.

"Just Last Night" follows 30 something Eve and her three friends, Ed, Susie, and Justin, at their regular Thursday quiz night. Eve finds herself thinking of her ex, who has immigrated to America and is now married with a child. She starts to wonder again about her almost relationship with Ed and what could have been. When Ed's longtime girlfriend pops up and crashes their night, it sets in motion things that are going to change the group of four forever.

No spoilers here for readers, but have some tissues standing by people. I cried a bit. With the world the way it is and for some of us who lost people due to COVID or other things this past year, this book will slap you in the feels. It goes into a lot of things I think which will cause you to stop and think. McFarlane walks you through first love, unrequited love, death, loss of parents, and even new love.

Eve is a heroine that I found myself rooting for from beginning to end. "Just Last Night" not only shows you loss, but also secrets that are kept not only from Eve, but from other people as well. I liked the fact that you don't really know what's going on with other people, and how things revealed, even if long ago, can still burn.

Since this is told in the first person, via Eve, you do get to see her character developed, but you also get to see some changes to others like Ed and even Fin.

What a great book and it just has me wanting to re-read McFarlane's backlist again.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,401 reviews8,125 followers
December 2, 2021
A cute book! Just Last Night follow Eve, a woman in her thirties, whose closest friends include her best friend Suzie, her longtime secret crush Ed, and the caring jokester in the group Justin. One night a tragic event occurs that forces Eve to confront difficult truths about her friend group. In the process, she learns more about the dynamic between her and Ed, as well as how she feels about what – and who – she wants in her life.

This book felt fluffy to me. I liked several things about it: Eve is a flawed yet honest and relatable protagonist, Mhairi McFarlane’s writing flows well and is easy to read, and Eve’s grows in meaningful ways through the duration of the novel. I think my three star rating may stem from a mismatch between my expectations and what I want in novels versus the genre of the book itself. I wanted more of an emphasis on Eve and Suzie’s relationship and Eve’s grieving process, whereas I felt the book focused a lot on the romances with the male characters. While this focus makes sense given that it looks like this book is categorized as a romance novel, I myself would have enjoyed more of an emphasis on Eve’s grief and her relationship with Suzie. This shift would have helped the book feel deeper to me, though I see why others appreciate it as is.
Profile Image for *The Angry Reader*.
1,350 reviews292 followers
December 30, 2020
I think this was the Mhairi McFarlanest of the Mhairi McFarlane books I’ve read. (Which is, coincidentally, all of them.) She has a specific writing style and a manner of unfolding the story - and that was in full effect here. And while I had a good idea of the major players and their roles nothing felt rote Bc McFarlane successfully tackles some big big issues in a beautiful way.
And because I just finished it I’m so tempted to say it’s the best of her books. (I should reread the others for an honest comparison - otherwise it’s the giddy buzz talking.) There were certainly aspects here where she outshone even herself. The beginning of this story was nearly flawless. It brought more emotion than I’d anticipated. It feels as if Ms McFarlane has honed herself to a shiny edge. And this story moves forward gracefully and easily - like a silvery little stream or river. Something natural and lovely.
I cannot recommend this author enough. I talked to another reader recently about how if you read any author enough you find something you can’t adore. But Mhairi and I? We’re not there yet.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to offer my unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Jessica - How Jessica Reads.
1,816 reviews168 followers
May 27, 2021
Mhairi McFarlane has a very specific style of writing:
--northern English setting
--heroine who undervalues herself
--hero who is seen as an 'arsehole' at the beginning
-- often the book begins with the end of a long relationship or emotional affair.

So you know what you're getting when you start one. But man this one is her best yet. She's perfected her style, and Eve's story is so wonderful.

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say it's Eve growing after a personal loss, and reconsidering truths she's believed for 16 years. And it's a lovely journey. Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy.

ETA: I wasn't going to count rereads in the same year for my totals this year, but I read it again on audio in May to make sure it truly deserved a spot on my best books of the year list (since I read it the first time on 1/8/21). And yes, yes it is that good. So I'm counting it again. :)
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,005 reviews1,050 followers
December 10, 2021
I picked the book up hoping for a romantic comedy to distract myself from grief but the book has other plans for me because it or at least the first half of it let me face grief head on instead. This is an accurate depiction of how it is to lose a loved one without getting a chance to say goodbye, maybe not because of a violent accident (Susie's case) but because of a treacherous heart illness made worse by a deadly virus (my dad's case). Like the mention of losing your innocence because you see the world as it clearly is. The moment I lost my dad was when it hit me, when it really has sunk in that the world is no longer safe. I honestly thought I knew what heartbreak really meant until I lost my dad.

"The value of memories of Susie (my dad) had shot up, like the hiked price of a rare autograph."

"I feel like I'm playing dress-up at normal life."

"That she (he) is past tense, feels so impossible, when she (he) was so vividly alive."

This book is an arrow straight to my heart as it let me relive my entire September that passed in a painful blur and at the same time, it also reminded me of my best friend (who sadly is also going through the same ordeal) because Eve lost her best friend, Susie, in the book. Thank God, my best friend is alive and wonderful.

I know this "review" is peculiar but I'm thankful that this read helped me process some of my feelings by allowing me to express them in writing. And what a huge consolation because the second half of the book turns out to be a great story about self-recovery, forgiveness, true friendship, and true love. I am thankful for the author for giving me hope through her book.

A lot of times, thinking of my dad feels like the Hulk punching me in the chest but today, all his memories made me smile. I am very grateful.

"It will always be this way, I've come to realize. You are never behind me. You are never something that happened. You are always alongside me."
Profile Image for Kim.
677 reviews1,677 followers
May 24, 2021
A buddy read with the usual suspects: Fran x2, Aoife and Jess <3

It’s been a while since a book made me cry. Don’t let the bright cover trick you into thinking this is a cheery and light book because it’s quite the opposite honestly.
Profile Image for Blackjack.
414 reviews133 followers
May 14, 2021
If Just Last Night is not the best McFarlane to date, it definitely feels like the most poignant and carefully honed of her growing list of little gems. There are several running themes in all of her books that I find myself actively searching as soon as I pick a new one up, starting with the haunting theme of the law of unintended consequences, or "ripples in the pond," as Evelyn Harris calls it early in this story, when a significant action occurs, reverberates, and wreaks chaos, upending characters' lives in unpredictable and life-altering ways. The shake ups are always necessary in a McFarlane story for character growth, and the consequences are essential, if at times heartbreaking to work through. It's not too much of a plot reveal to state that a main character, one of a tight foursome of old school friends, dies tragically and early in the book. Readers familiar with McFarlane know that The Event itself is much like an earthquake; it lasts mere moments, but the aftershocks are endless and unexpected, and we learn to live among the fault lines forever.

Eve, Suzie, Ed, and Justin love and value their longstanding friendship and weekly pub nights together. They even share the mantra, "the group has to be protected at all costs," which also turns out to be a quasi-problematic perspective on friendship at times that, while providing comfort and security, also limits the characters' ability to grow and mature outside of their tight circle of four. Take Hester, Ed's fiance, for instance, a decidedly unwelcome fifth wheel. As much of a mean girl as Hester is, I had moments of sympathy for even her, despite her otherwise unpleasantness, given the closed circle she's trying to infiltrate. There is an underlying question whether old friendships represent security blankets or stagnation, or both at the same time. In any case, the night one of the friends shockingly perishes is filled with subterranean emotions of love, jealously, nurturing, betrayal, secrets, and an at-times claustrophobic familiarity with each other. I couldn't shake the conflicted feelings I had when first reading this early scene immediately before tragedy strikes. The scene is unsettling in a number of ways, and once I finished the book, I went right back to it for a reread for confirmation I hadn't imagined any of the bubbling turmoil underlying the friends' conversations. Their last get together might have been portrayed as warm and cozy in the hands of another author to set us up for the grief that follows, but McFarlane likes to explore the conflicts within relationships and turn them inside out for our examination, even in the midst of tragedy - or, especially in the midst of tragedy.

To the book's credit, all of the characters are profoundly changed by the ripples in the pond after the death of one of their own, and each one's story arc is given deserved attention. Eve's character development though provides the heart of the story, and I struggle to think of another contemporary romance author with her finger on the pulse of female first-person narration in the way in which McFarlane has mastered. If I have to pinpoint one element of this author's writing to explain why her books resonate with me, it would have to be the complexity of her heroines and their sheer loveliness in all their quirks and uniqueness. Eve is essentially a fence sitter - albeit a witty, bawdy, and caustic one -- who overthinks nearly everything to the point that her lack of commitment has become so much a part of herself that she feels trapped and unable to mature. She endures years of unrequited love for Ed because she accepts that their college-year love is that of the romantically adjacent rather than the grab-the-bull-by-the-horns kind of love. Closed doors and missed opportunities are terms she routinely uses to explain away her unwillingness to act. She settles for a stale job, just as she settles for life in her same town in which she has always lived. If The Event hadn't happened, it's not hard to imagine Eve, Suzie, Ed, and Justin sluggishly gathering for pub night into eternity.

Tragedy is an early catalyst, but it also brings Finlay into the picture and what a welcome addition his character makes to this story! Like Hester, he's an imposter with the ability to stir things up and shift relationships around. Judged for his remoteness and harmed by malicious gossip, Finlay is an enigma that begs to be solved. It's hard though not to be drawn to this fascinating and complex and beautiful man. He also though represents what I've noticed in recent McFarlane books, which is the juxtaposing of two romantic choices for the heroine in what is very helpfully called in this book, the "Nicest Guy in the Room Act." Finlay is complicated and ambiguous, but are those qualities that make for an enduring, committed love? Ed, on the other hand, is a good guy, dutiful and responsible, but like other good guys in McFarlane's worlds, he is weak, faintly misogynistic, and passive in his love for Eve. I've come to search for the wolf in good guy clothes in this author's works, and I wasn't disappointed here.

Eve's and Finlay's "affinity" for each other is so wonderfully drawn that I found myself reading their conversations and interactions so slowly and carefully as to not miss any nuance in their developing relationship. The ending is just wonderful. The chaos that threw everything up in the air is deftly handled in ways that I appreciate and even felt surprised by at times. I've not yet read all of McFarlane's books because I parse them out carefully to make the reading of them last longer. Surely this one will be among the best though!
Profile Image for John Gilbert.
799 reviews77 followers
October 14, 2021
My first venture with Ms McFarlane, but not my last.

This is a well written and well constructed love story that works on many levels, with Eve's three best friends very well involved, and a great tragedy to centre on. Unfortunately the books drags for much of the journey, too much unnecessary time spent meandering between important bits.

But ultimately worth the journey and the distance.
Profile Image for Sylvie .
600 reviews790 followers
October 20, 2021
4.5 out of 5 stars!

Starting this review with being completely honest: I wouldn’t say this was or would be a 5 stars read to a lot of readers, but I personally can’t seem to bring myself rating this lower or not round up to a full rating. The story felt too genuine and relatable and it very much spoke to me.

The author has a unique way with telling/writing her books. I’ve only read one other book by her (excluding this one) and both of her stories feel like they’re going to stick with you for a very long time.

I’m looking forward for her writing more books and making her readers root for the characters (even though some of them seem annoying at first) and make us feel things.

Before adding this book to my tbr-list, I was already familiar with this author, as I have read 'Don't You Forget About Me' (yes, the main reason I read that book was because of the title) about 3 years ago and I enjoyed it. But in this book's case, it was actually the synopsis that captured my interest and made me want to read it.

I know it's spooky month and all and I should read horror/mystery/thriller, but I waited for this book for almost three months! And I haven't seen a single bad review of this book, more reason to read this as ASAP as possible.
Profile Image for Claire Reads Books.
136 reviews1,371 followers
January 24, 2022
This book really hit the spot. I picked it up expecting (and wanting) a simple contemporary romance, and I was a bit dismayed to realize, within the first few pages, that this is also a story about Death and Grief. “IS this even a romance at all?” I wondered, fully prepared to put it down if it wasn’t – having now made it to the end, I can assure you, it definitely delivers one of the most satisfying romantic pairings I’ve read in a while, and one that is so fully enmeshed in the Death/Grief plot that both feel essential to the story being told. It ended up being a beautiful balance of the two, and I think the somewhat unusual way in which the book unfolded (at least compared to the reliable beats hit by most other rom-coms) actually kept me on my toes about what was going to happen, and it allowed Mhairi McFarlane to prod at tropes like unrequited love, the one that got away and enemies-to-lovers in really interesting ways. It’s also a beautiful exploration of friendship and loss and the many griefs of getting older – it felt very mature and meaningful in that way. And definitely swoon-worthy, too ;) This is the rare romance / “women’s fiction” book I wish I could read from the beginning all over again.
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,283 reviews67 followers
May 21, 2021
Mhairi McFarlane has a gift for writing angst-filled stories that don't feel angst-filled. Seriously. The entire time I read this story I kept feeling like I should have been more annoyed with the eternal misery of the main character, but I wasn't. I loved her. I wanted to see her succeed. Her angst felt justified, and I cared about her enough to want to stick with her to the end so that she could find her happiness eventually. Like I say, Mhairi McFarlane has a gift for making me love her damaged heroes and heroines.

I will admit that it took me a bit of time to get into this story. This was a story about a group of four friends, and I always find that I struggle to engage with stories where I feel like I am dropped into established relationships with backstories and inside jokes and banter that makes me feel outside the loop. I read the blurb, so I knew that there would be some sort of tragedy and some sort of revelation that would throw this group of friends into a bit of chaos. So I was ready ... and maybe part of the reason I struggled to get into this at first was because I was waiting for the other shoe to drop at any minute. Well, it eventually did, and when it did the angst began. But I should clarify that by saying 'angst' I am not implying anything negative in this case. It is totally justifiable angst that comes about because Eve, the main character in this story, has been living a bit of a false life, not really confronting the reality of her relationships or her life choices. When the angst begins, Eve finally gets the push she needs to get out of a rut and become the person she was meant to be.

Here's what made this story work ... Eve. I loved her. She kept just enough humor in her outlook on life as she faced hard realities that I was able to bear the sadness and hurt that peppers this story. She was just a genuinely good and optimistic person who chose to see the good in people for the most part. Her long-lasting unrequited (mostly) love for her friend Ed, and her heartbreak at his sudden engagement felt relatable. A book full of unrequited love would have been exhausting, but reading about Eve's journey of discovery as she realizes what has been going on all along in her relationship with Ed was fantastic. But I should be clear, if you are reading this story and hoping for some sort of epic romantic story, you might end up disappointed. There is a bit of romance here, and it is lovely. Really lovely. But I think this book is more about Eve's evolution as a character. This is her journey of discovery. Love is a great bonus at the end, but it isn't the point here. I wouldn't really call this a slow burn love story, but it definitely takes it's time coming around. And I'm okay with it.

I love, love, loved the story of Susie's dysfunctional family. There are all sorts of family secrets floating around. You know they're there, but I would have never guessed what they would be. When they are revealed ... Holy cow! What a change in perspective I went through! Things were definitely not as they seemed. Fin ... awww Fin. How I loved his terribly damaged and often prickly character. How I grieved for his life experiences! How I ended up loving him!

I am a huge fan of the way Mhairi McFarlane creates a story. I love her characters, their relationships, and their banter. I love hanging out with her characters, and I love to watch their journeys of growth. That was my experience with this story as well. It was slow to grab me, but once it did I fell in love with it and was a bit sad to see it end. Four strong stars. I really liked it.
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,000 reviews796 followers
April 21, 2021
On my blog.

Rep: gay side character

CWs: sudden death of a friend, panic attack, past physical abuse by parent

Galley provided by publisher

Last Night may be my favourite Mhairi McFarlane book yet. I know, I know, I say this a lot. My actual favourite is less fixed and more like whichever I read most recently, but I really mean it this time. I loved everything about this book. Just writing this review makes me want to go back and reread it. It’s that good.

The plot follows Eve and her friends, Susie, Ed and Jeremy. Eve has been in love with Ed almost since she first knew him, but their one attempt at starting anything was subject to a lost letter, and Ed has had the same girlfriend, soon fiancee and not Eve, ever since. But then one night changes everything (not an affair, I don’t mean an affair), and suddenly it’s as if Eve doesn’t really know her friends after all.

Last Night is full of the best kind of humour that Mhairi McFarlane’s books always present. You are immediately sucked into the characters’ friendship group because of that humour. If you’ve read any of McFarlane’s books before, the feel to them is always the same and it always feels like cracking open an old favourite to reread — it’s that kind of welcome you get. That’s the same here, and it’s the kind of book you open and, within a chapter, you know you’re going to love it.

She also has this great way of balancing the romance side of the book with covering more serious topics too. Here, the sudden death of a friend and past child abuse (not of the main character, by the way). And she covers them with a whole lot of respect. They weren’t just thrown in to provide some kind of needless angst, they were a central part of the narrative and given the time and care that they necessitate.

But the real reason I ever pick up a McFarlane book is obviously the romance. In this one, it might seem like that’s going to be Ed and Eve (I certainly thought so at the start. Which was… interesting since Ed is clearly not the greatest), but there’s a bit of a twist you might not expect. I’m not going to say anything more because it’s the kind of romance you don’t really want to know who the love interest is going to be. It makes it all the better to go in not knowing.

So, if you’ve read and loved Mhairi McFarlane before, or if this would be your first ever (and it would be a great first ever, to be fair), then let me say, you’re going to absolutely adore it.
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