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You Had Me at Hello

Narrated by: Julie Hesmondhalgh
Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (286 ratings)

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Summary

What happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane.

"Think of the great duos of history. We're just like them."

"You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher?"

"I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel."

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.

It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away. They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend. Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first hello.

©2013 Mhairi McFarlane (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Very very witty and funny. Left me in awe…a total gem." (Marian Keyes)
"The funniest, most romantic book I've read since One Day." (Lisa Jewell)
"I loved this book. It made me laugh and reminded me that anything's possible in love - and in everything else for that matter." (Minnie Driver)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A real gem!

What a lovely surprise this audiobook was. It looks like a standard chick lit, which I would usually avoid listening to. However, it is a real gem! It is perfectly read by Julie Hesmondhalgh ('Hayley' to us Corrie fans!), it's funny, moving and for me, full of nostalgia (for my student days in Manchester). I became completely immersed in the characters lives and was very sad to finish it. Can't wait for the next book by Mhairi McFarlane.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I have listened to for ages!

hThis is a fantastic book from a great new chick-lit talent. I have listened to it twice and absolutely loved it. The narrator's Sheffield accent takes a little bit of getting used to but I would urge you to bear with it. It's a gripping 'will they - won't they?' storyline with the mystery of what happened between the male and female characters in the past as a constant theme throughout the book.

I am eagerly anticipating Mhairi McFarlane's next book.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book...

Having already read some of this book in paperback, I was a bit worried that the narrator might not interpret the characters in the way I had in my head, but this wasn't an issue. The book is both funny and touching. If you didn't get on with how the book was narrated, I urge you buy the paperback/Kindle/iBooks version as it's a lovely story. Over 1000 5/4 star reviews on Amazon are not wrong. I can't wait for Mhairi's next book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Really did make me laugh out loud for once!

Love all Mhairi McFarlane books but this one is my favourite, it's hilarious and Julie Hesmondhalghs great narration makes the funny bits even funnier, out of over 250 audio books I've listened to this is one of my stand out favs thanks to Mhairi's quick wit style writing and Julie's great dry humour narration. amazing work girls.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well written, but the narration was all wrong!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend the book and I may well read it myself. Unfortunately, after sticking with it for several hours, I have to 'return' the audio book due to the narration. Julie Hesmonhalgh is a fine actress, but sadly, this narration was totally wrong!

What did you like best about this story?

The characters were written so well. It all felt so familiar. I know people like that, with the same sense of humour etc. The story is funny and intelligent.

How could the performance have been better?

Julie really needed to tone-down her very broad Sheffield accent for this (although given the book was set in Manchester, she may have been told to read it that way, in which case the fault lies with someone else). She is obviously capable of reading with a softer accent, and with a relatively 'received' English accent, as she did so for some characters. Notwithstanding the accent, Julie's narration would have been 5*. The pace, tone, emphasis and portrayal of mood and emotion was perfect.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Yes!

Any additional comments?

I am from Manchester and therefore comfortable with Northern accents, but Julie's when full-on was too much for me to listen to for hours. I was sad not to have been able to listen to the end.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected and really good

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, well-written debut novel, portraying today's society from the viewpoint of a 31-year-old single woman...

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have changed the end and made Rachel's behave less embarrassingly in some scenes.

What does Julie Hesmondhalgh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Her accent really brings Rachel to life and she gives each character an individual voice.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

“Do nothing, and nothing happens. Life is about decisions. You either make them or they're made for you, but you can't avoid them.” (quote from the book itself)

Any additional comments?

"Very very witty and funny. Left me in awe...a total gem." (Marian Keyes)"The funniest, most romantic book I've read since One Day." (Lisa Jewell)...caused me to have fairly wrong expectations. Yes, "You Had Me at Hello" is funny in some parts and also romantic - but to me it is mainly a realistic book, sometimes witty, sometimes tragic and mostly a well-written tale about a 31-year-old woman, trying to find a new way in life, after having lived in a relationship with her fiance Rhys for the last 13 years. One star taken off because Rachel made me cringe in a few scenes when she behaved quite out of character - reminding me of the bad bits in "Bridged Jones". It is more like "One Day" or "You Before Me", both books I treasure because they are not shallow, have laugh-aloud moments and characters that seemed like real people after a few chapters. Just less romance (in my opinion) due to the break-up situation. Read it or listen to it, it is much more than an average summer read - just don't so if you just split up with someone, it might be a bit too painful. I would not be surprised if it turned up on the big screen next year.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant - it had me at hello

Really loved it - funny, witty - believable characters - loved Julie's narration!! Great read!!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Super listen!

What made the experience of listening to You Had Me at Hello the most enjoyable?

The story didn't go as expected and a lot happened.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters were very engaging, the protagonist was clever and funny, and the narrator read it very well.

What about Julie Hesmondhalgh’s performance did you like?

She paused at exactly the right places, and spoke just the way speech actually works.

Any additional comments?

I really loved this listen - it was easy without being stupid, it was fun and engaging and kept me entertained, but it wasn't complicated. It was clever and funny and I cared about what was happening. It wasn't predictable.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not great!

I really enjoyed this book but it's no where as good as Here's Looking At You by the same author! Would recommend but again no where as good as the others!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

You Had Me at Hello

This is the first book I've listened to by this author and this particular narrator!!! 5 stars for both!!!

I think you have to be British or English and have a grasp of the euphemisms that are used in this book!!! Living in Manchester myself I can relate with the words and the areas talked about!!!

Definitely recommend this to others!!! And I will definitely listen to this narrator and author again!!!@

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sparkerart
  • 07-09-16

Narrator ruins it

Great book by one of my new fave authors - but yikes! The narrator! She sounds like Ringo Starr. Heavy accent probably won't faze the UK listeners but really hard to understand for me - and not helped by the fact that she speaks very rapidly, runs all the words together, and tends to mumble and fade out at the end of sentences. Even weirder, she not only doesn't bother to change voices with different characters, she actually goes up when voicing the character of Ben. Makes him sound like a little girl. Almost impossible to distinguish what characters she's voicing with little or no change - or an odd change like with Ben. The storyline is great, but this is one that might have been better to purchase and read!

15 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah S.
  • 08-11-18

couldn't get past the accent

I had a lot of trouble understanding the narrator due to her accent so I wasn't able to get very far or enjoy the story.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue Z
  • 18-09-17

Narration was BRUTAL

I could not clearly understand the narrator's accent. I would listen again with a different narrator.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara Byers
  • 11-04-17

Horrible narration

The narrator was impossible to understand. It was not the accent as much as her stringing words together to create incoherent sentences. There was no change in her voice, speed of speech, or tone for different characters so it was impossible to follow and understand which characters were speaking. I should have listened to other reviews and skipped this one, but I liked "Here's looking at you" so much, I had hoped the story would be enough to overcome the narrator. Very very disappointed.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • 24-01-19

Narrator ruins it

The narrator spoke as if she got paid extra to get out as many words in one breath as possible. And honestly the dialogue seemed more like pointless blathering, maybe it wouldn't have with a different narrator. I only got through a chapter or 2 because I didn't see a reason to subject myself to this any further

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-07-19

Clever, witty and Surprising

The writing and performance are effortless amusing and simultaneously convey all of the anxiety and pain of unrequited love. Never cheesy or trite. I really enjoyed the narrator’s performance and genuine northern accent but I can see how American, or non-British listeners, might have difficulty understanding her. You’ll also miss out on a lot of the gags and wit if you don’t have a healthy knowledge of 80s to date Brit pop culture.
Great listen and lots of twists and turns.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • T Shurland
  • 13-04-17

Good (vague spoilers)

Any additional comments?

The accent was there, deal with it. Yes it was heavy and a little garbled at first but you can acclimatize. I found it disappeared after a few chapters.

I think this author is a bit of a star. I've listen to other British chick lit (Kinsella, Keyes, etc) and this one is the best easily. Very sharp, funny analogies and a gifted ability to observe the world, which is what the best kind of author does. If you're going to tell us about things we see every day for God sake make it fun.

The only reason I didn't give it top stars was the ending. Yes it was happy, as these things have to be, but it was VERY rushed a bit incongruous when you compared it to the rest of the story, which was extraordinarily slow and quite values driven. There was a lot of angst in this book about extramarital/extra-relationship affairs. I'm not very moralistic about these things. I can quite happily read a book about an affair. But given the outspokenness of all the characters about the wrongness of infidelity, the final union of Rachel and Ben - even though a divorce was in the works - didn't ring quite right. I think the author wanted to skirt a controversial line but didn't want to commit to it. She should have committed.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kay H.
  • 19-10-16

Realistic love story

I will first say that I'm so lucky I was able to tolerate the narration long enough to partially acclimate to the accent. There really should be a version for American listeners. I'm sure it's missed out on some great parts because it was so fast and difficult for me to understand. However, the story really was worth it. I really appreciate the humanity of the characters, the humor, and the authenticity of the interactions.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Laurie Cota
  • 01-11-17

Audible listeners beware!

I wish I could give a detailed description of the book but I can't because the audible version is a HEAVY Irish accent and was impossible for me to understand. I made it through 3 chapters and had to archive it. Not only was it impossible to decipher the readers accent, but trying so hard to listen gave me a headache! Disappointed!! I should have played the sample longer!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Customer name
  • 13-05-20

😍

This is one of my favorite Mhairi McFarlane books! I will confess I considered exchanging it because I had trouble connecting with the book because of their accent. Thankfully I didn’t give up, the story had so many twists my heart literally broke at one point. By the end I was easily able to connect with the actress and think she did a great job!!