Wednesday 6 May 2020

To Have or Have Not by Alex McLean Book Review

A few weeks ago I received an intriguing email from an author, who's books I've read previously, under their pen name...

I was asked if I'd like to read and review their upcoming novel, To Have or Have Not


So I won't lie, my first thoughts turned to who could the author be?

And then I quickly realised that it didn't matter who the author was behind the name, what mattered was that I actually wanted to read the book and was quite thankful of the initial email.

How do you make an impossible choice?

Fifteen years ago, Abi lost Luke to her best friend, Heather. It ended both their friendship and Abi’s future with the love of her life.

Now the couple has come crashing back into Abi's fragile world. As a struggling single mother, she can’t handle any more complications. Yet despite her better judgment, she and Luke become close again. Then he asks her to persuade his wife to save their crumbling marriage. But Abi is still in love with him, and she can just as easily end it. It seems an easy decision, until she reconciles with Heather and realises that she can’t lose her best friend twice.

It didn't take me long to devour the whole story (a lovely sunny day in the garden I might add) so I wasted no time in getting my review written ready to share with you all.

Abi is a struggling mum, who is constantly trying to the best for her daughter, working more than one job and constantly on the edge of not having enough money to eat let alone pay the bills.

Her ex is a good guy, but as a musician he doesn't have a regular income so doesn't always give Abi money when she needs it the most.

To top of the ever growing list of woes, their daughter has a serious illness which sees her in a hospital bed quite frequently - this does not help Abi to be a reliable employee as of course she chooses to be by her daughter's side rather than at work.

I really felt for Abi. You can see from the beginning that she's a proud, independent woman and despite all that goes wrong for her and her little family, she doesn't let it keep her down.

There are so many people in similar situations right now. Struggling to make ends meat, settling for low paid work just to bring in any sort of income.

And then as if to add insult to injury in walk Luke and Heather back into her life, her ex best friend and her ex (you can imagine what happened there), appearing to live the perfect life. It's like Abi can't catch her lucky break.

But as friendships seem to heal and old feelings begin to stir can Abi grab the chance of the life that she's always dreamed of for her and her daughter?

This story is told from both the past and the present. 

We get a real insight into not just Abi's past but Luke and Heather too. 

Complicated would be an understatement! It's a love triangle like no other, a real love fest because it isn't just about a love as in romantic terms, it is about the love that blossoms from friendship too.

This novel has what I call 'the feels'. I'd go as far as saying that you may want a box of tissues handy if you're like me and tend to cry when reading. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster of a story that will leave you not knowing whether to carry on crying or slowly smiling by the end.


I mean I honestly didn't see it coming. It was a twist that had me going from a trickle of tears to full on sobbing but also smiling because although sad, it also felt completely appropriate.

And I can't say anymore than that without giving anything a way.

To Have or Have Not is a story of family, friends and feelings.

I guess that question that you are left to answer is what would you choose, relationship or friendship?


  1. I'm intrigued. A bit different to my usual reads but I'm adding this one to my TBR list

  2. I don't read much romantic fiction, but I must say I do like the sound of this one. It reminds me a bit of My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson - because the best friend went off with the main character's boyfriend and they ended up reconciling in difficult circumstances too.


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