Review by

You Are Here

Having just finished watching the lovable Netflix series One Day, I went straight for newly published You Are Here by David Nicholls. It’s not that Nicholls’ plots are that different from other romcom novels. Where he stands out is in his incredible skill at making it all so very relatable. It’s impossible to read his books without nodding, smiling, even shedding a tear with recognition. You Are Here, is the story of not-so-young-anymore Michael and Marnie finding love (no spoiler, it’s in the blurb) and it’s the way there that makes this such a special read. The perfect funny and uplifting summer novel.

Marnie is a 38-year-old London based, freelance copy editor, bruised by a recent, painful divorce. Covid lock-downs and home working has turned her into a bit of a hermit. Confidence is at rock bottom; cynicism wrapped in humour is Marnie’s shield. Her slightly annoying, but well-meaning friend Cleo strong-arms Marine into coming on a trek in the Lake District with a group of friends. Enter Michael, a cantankerous, introverted geography teacher from York who’s been through his own bruising divorce and whose shield is geography trivia. Think Mr Darcy. There is, of course, a decoy in the form of dashing, pharmacist and man-about-town, Conrad, whose flirty, confidence makes Michael look like a sedimentary rock.

I’m not going to reveal more about the plot, which isn’t the main point anyway. It’s the fumbling first steps of courtship, the clumsy conversations, the painful and funny misunderstandings, the unsaid words, the regrets and the misguided pride that makes this book so good. Nicholls is an excellent and very funny chronicler of everyday truths, and in this case, the stunning nature of the Lake District. There are so many gems in the form of observations here that I’m not even going to start quoting them, suffice to say that he’s nailed the English countryside B&Bs to a tee.

Just like in One Day – for those of you that have read book or watched the series – it’s the normalness of it all that is so appealing. These are imperfect people, just like you and me, trying their best to find happiness. Highly recommended.

You Are Here by David Nicholls is published by Sceptre, 368 pages.

Have you tried Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls?

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