Arden has just started university when she meets Mac – and quickly falls head over heels for the handsome, charismatic film lecturer. Their love affair is dramatic, exciting and all-consuming; the sort of thing you only see in the movies.
It couldn’t last. But thirty years later, leading a very different life, Arden is visiting a friend in hospital when she suddenly comes across the man she never forgot. Badly injured in an accident, Mac can only make brief references to the classic films they once watched together: Casablanca, A Star is Born, Pretty Woman among others . . . and they make Arden remember everything.
The bittersweet memories of their relationship help Arden re-connect with the world in a way she no longer thought was possible. But will a movie-worthy love ever be hers again?
A romantic, moving and inspiring love story that readers of Jill Mansell, Hilary Boyd and Maeve Haran will adore.
*I was sent a kindle edition of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
If you’re looking for a straight forward romantic comedy or a lighthearted read, then this is probably not the book for you. However if you’re after a book with romance, which covers deeper topics as well as a bittersweet ending then this may be just the book for you.
Given that I haven’t read any of Fiona Collins other novels, I don’t have another of her books to compare it to but I enjoyed this story. My favourite part were the flashbacks to Ardens time at Warwick university and exploring her and Macs relationship when things were perfect and then the gradual breakdown of their affair. I enjoyed reading all the movie references that were sprinkled in to the story and how movies were a theme within their relationship. Even 30 years later, it’s the movies that tie them together and provoke the strongest memories for them. While I haven’t seen all of the movies they watched, I don’t think it’s necessary to do so in order to understand what’s going on. If you’re interested in widening your film knowledge however, their ‘list’ is a great place to start!
In terms of the actual relationship, it was hard for me to fully root for Arden and Mac as it’s rooted in infidelity. While it’s explained that Mac has a complicated marriage, cheating is still cheating at the end of the day. There’s no doubt that Arden and Mac love each other deeply but if Arden hadn’t been the ‘other woman’ then I could have fully rooted for them. There’s also a teacher / student dynamic involved here, although Mac is not her teacher and Arden is legal, it’s still taboo and something that causes contention in their relationship.
In the sections which were set in the present, I enjoyed reading about Arden reconnecting with her past and finding hope for her future. In the time between Ardens escape to university from her emotionally abusive mother, she gets married and unfortunately her partner, Christian is severely controlling financially and emotionally. Arden is a character who has been through a lot in her life and this leaves her feeling isolated from any friends. I feel like Collins does a good job here of exploring the effects an abusive relationship can have on a person and how difficult recovery can be, but also that it’s not impossible either. Reconnecting with Mac is also a step in Ardens way to finding happiness again as she considers her time with him, when she was her truest and most bravest self. Along the way she meets a new host of characters; James, a strange but sweet neighbour of Mac, Fran a friendly nurse on the ward as well as Becky, her best friend from university who she has distanced herself from.
Overall, You, Me and the Movies is a moving romantic novel with an encouraging and hopeful message and I would recommend reading it, especially if you’re a movie buff.
Until next time,