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YOU ARE HERE
YOU ARE HERE

A flawless, impeccably observed and heart-warming love story about being given a second chance at happiness set against the backdrop of the Lake District landscape.

- best book club reads - 

Readability

★★★★★★★★★✰

Talkability

★★★★★★★★★✰

Den scores

★★★★★★★★★✰

YOU ARE HERE

DAVID NICHOLLS

368 pages

“One Day “by David Nicholls was our first book club read many years ago and we've all been wrapped up in the recent Netflix adaptation, so excitement was high for his latest novel, “You are Here” released at the end of April. Nicholls’s skill is his intricate dissection of relationships and this story of two damaged, single, middle-aged individuals being thrown together on a walking mini-break in the Lake District doesn't disappoint. A flawless, impeccably observed and heart-warming love story about being given a second chance at happiness.

Marnie is 38, divorced and living alone in a one bedroom flat in Brockwell Park, working from home as a freelance copy writer. Her best friend Cleo persuades her to join her husband and teenage son Anthony, also Marnie’s godson, on a 3 day walking weekend-break in the Lake District. Cleo plans to use the trip as a little matchmaking exercise for both Marnie and Anthony’s other godparent, Michael, a 42 year old somewhat geeky geography teacher who is forlorn after the recent separation from his wife Natasha. Cleo plans to set up Marnie with Conrad, a charismatic, good-looking pharmacist who lives in London. For Michael she invites Tess, an outdoorsy triathlete. Cleo has tasked Michael with plotting the route and he has chosen the first leg of the ‘Coast to Coast’ walk compiled by Alfred Wainwright’s 190 mile route which crosses the Lakes, over the Pennines, along the Dales across the Moors, descending to the North Sea. Michael plans to stay on after the initial weekend to hike the remainder of the west to east coast across the Dales solo, using it as an opportunity to clear his mind and enjoy nature.

The first hitch to Cleo’s best laid match-making plans is that Tess cancels last minute, followed by the typical, unpredictable British weather. The rain is torrential so gradually members of the party give up leaving Marnie alone with Michael, to not only finish day two’s hike but then stay one further night before her booked train ticket allows her to return back to London. Thrown together they begin to enjoy each other’s company. Marnie makes Michael laugh with her quick witted self-degrading humour and she finds herself confiding in him about her life and ex-husband.

Nicholl’s ability to navigate the awkwardness in those early days of a new relationship together with the missed opportunities of intimacy is exemplary. He skilfully captures the lack of confidence experienced by damaged people and beautifully expresses their rawness and hesitation to be drawn into a new relationship with his sizzling dialogue. The back drop of the Lake District, exhausting hikes, an eclectic selection of overnight accommodation and the contrast of one experienced hiker with one novice provide great humour. Whilst Marnie takes a complete wardrobe with her for a 3-day trip, including a selection of dresses, Michael (never called Mike or Mikey) has just the one shirt. Both prove to be inadequate for the circumstances they find themselves in. A joyous and perfect summer read.

- for people who love books - 

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