Thirty-year-old aspiring writer Georgina Horspool thought she hit her all-time low when she took a job waitressing at the worst trattoria in South Yorkshire, but her humiliation had barely begun. Her boss then uses her as a scapegoat and publicly sacks her. When she flees to her semi-celebrity boyfriend Robin's place for comfort, she finds him in flagrante with his personal assistant. Reeling from both betrayals, Georgina takes a job as a bartender, only to find that one of the pub's co-owners is her high school flame Lucas McCarthy, the one who got away. To add insult to awkwardness, grown, gorgeous, widowed Lucas has forgotten her completely.
Mhairi McFarlane's (It's Not Me, It's You) wry, witty heroine finds her way back to love in this romantic novel of comedic mishaps, unresolved grief and redemption. When the pub puts on a "Share Your Shame" writing competition, Georgina desperately wants first prize, the chance to write a newspaper column. However, if she wants to set herself apart, she'll have to speak up about the reason she and Lucas broke up 12 years ago. The truth may destroy their growing connection or set them free to begin anew.
Though punctuated by absurd comic touches including a pun-happy stripper dressed as Thor, Georgina's struggle to move forward through past trauma feels authentic and hard-earned. McFarlane ably shows that grief can arrest growth, but Georgina's sardonic first-person narration remains laugh-out-loud funny even in the darkest moments. No one will forget this witty, resilient heroine or her well-deserved happy ending. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads