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#Book Review #No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald

From the book blurb:

Everyone knows a girl like Sloane. She was always The Single One. She never brought a plus-one to weddings. She was the woman you’d set up with your single cousin. She joined ballroom dancing classes to meet men and was the queen of online dating.

But then she met Myles. Perfect Myles, with denim-blue eyes and a dazzling smile that melted her insides. She’d finally found The One.

Except she didn’t imagine that Myles’s idea of Happy Ever After would include Sloane battling an overflowing laundry basket, buying birthday cards for his family, and ironing his Calvin Klein underpants.

Then Sloane finds out that Myles has a secret.

The fairy tale is well and truly over. Her heart is blown to smithereens. Eating her weight in Ben & Jerry’s and large Meat Feast pizzas can only get Sloane so far before she has to make a decision… Can she learn to love herself more than she loved the love of her life?

No, We Can’t Be Friends is a brilliantly relatable, hilarious and feel-good novel that every woman with a waste-of-space ex HAS to read! If you’re a fan of romantic comedies by Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk, and TV shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, pick up this laugh-out-loud book – you won’t regret it.

My thoughts:

  I don’t know whether to put it in the category of contemporary women’s fiction, humour, or romance. With a slightly older protagonist, it doesn’t seem to fit neatly into the chick-lit category, although it is written in a light-hearted, easy style. ‘No, We Can’t Be Friends’ is a life story, honest and relatable. It is also entertaining (although not exactly laugh out loud) and hard to put down.

Sloane Cassidy is a successful professional- she is a co-owner of a PR/ talent agency. She has been married for five years to Myles, whom she loves deeply, and is thinking of starting family. As their dream house renovation work continues, little cracks begin to appear in her marriage. Sloane doesn’t exactly brush them off, she just wants to double her efforts to be the best wife possible. After all, ‘she’s in it to win it’. Gradually, Sloane discovers her husband might not be the man she has always imagined him to be. Oh, he can still make her laugh, and her body might still crave the warmth of his body in their bed, but how do you reconcile this with the secret text message sent to a mutual ‘friend’ ‘I have never loved her’? How do you learn to see your relationship with the new eyes of knowing it was based on lies? How do you take off those rose-tinted glasses we all wear when we look at our One and Only? What do you do with your hopes for future which seemed already written somewhere? How do you give up your wish to become a mother when you are 35 and are facing a divorce?

Sloane is a fantastic character, a girl I would love to have as a friend in real life. She is kind and strong, sensible and realistic. She doesn’t complain or wallow (maybe just a bit, but then we all need somebody to make us a strong cup of tea at the right moment and take care of us just for a day to let us get on our feet). She genuinely wants to re-build her life and understands that it will take time.

Sloane is not alone, of course, and that is not surprising. She cares about people around her and sees the best in them, and they stand by her when her own life seems to crumble.
I really loved her relationship with Megan (the other co-owner of the agency) and the way Sloane turns up at the right moment to help the brand-new mother- sometimes it is all you need: a shower and 20 minutes to yourself and a conversation with an adult about anything not baby-related!

I hope I’m not going to spoil the story by saying that there is also a new man in her life, but the romance is so secondary, so in the background, that there is no doubt- this novel focuses on Sloane and her divorce, rather than anything or anybody else. Actually, I would have liked to see a more developed male character ( friend or foe) in this book, as they all seemed a bit one-dimensional.

Sophie Ranald wrote a very relatable story as any of us who have gone through a long-term relationship breakup or a divorce will vouch for. It is also uplifting and heart-warming. At the end of the day, it is people in our lives (friends, family, co-workers, kind strangers) that matter, not houses or fancy decor. And we can make our own if not HEA, at least HFN, if we take our life decisions in our own hands.

Thank you to NetGalley and Boukouture for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Expected Publication Date: 10th of January 2020.

  • Have you read ‘No, We Can’t Be Friends’ or any other books by Sophie Ranald?
  • What’s the best book dealing with post-separation /post-divorce topic have you read?
  • Where does ‘chick-lit’ end and ‘Women’s fiction’ begin for you?

17 replies on “#Book Review #No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald”

    1. Thank you, Marialyce! A close friend of mine went through a similar experience. Divorces are always painful, and even more so when you’re an expat and don’t have your family and friends around to support you through this difficult time.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I haven’t tried any of Sophie Ranalds books before but this one sounds so different from your usual chick lit (ish) books. I’m really eager to give it a try. Also, I thoigh I was following you and then it said I wasn’t??? No idea what happened there! Awesome post 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve just finished the one which came out earlier- Out with the Ex, In with the New. First, it was really strange because the narrator was clearly much younger (24y.o) and had a completely different tone, but then I started enjoying it.
      It happens to everyone from time to time. Just a WordPress glitch. Lynne from Fictionfile had to re-follow half of her followers’ list.


  2. Great review Toni. I often have trouble determining genre between Chick-Lit and Women’s Fiction. Light and airy: Chick-Lit, more serious: Women’s Fiction but where is the line? This sounds like a good story, especially if you have dealt with this type of situation or know someone who has. Not sure if I would compare it to a bereavement story. There can be now closure to bereavement especially if there were problems before it happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carla! People seem to get married or settle down with a life partner at a later age, so it feels like chick-lit protagonists are getting older. Maybe it’s just my impression…
      With divorce you have to come to terms with the loss of future you could have had together, which is never going to happen now. I suppose it also depends on how invested you were in this shared future.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aren’t Chick Lit and Women’s fiction basically the same? The only difference I can come up with is that Chick Lit may be lighter and more humorous in its tone, while Women’s fiction is more serious. Anyhow, great review! 😀


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