Mutual Benefits by HP Munro is so delightful and hilarious. Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes but this one is unique and will keep you entertained from start to finish.
Hannah Melville is a clothing designer who owns her own shop with her best friend Phillip in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hannah has a meddlesome mother who is always trying to find Mr. Right for her to marry. Hannah and Phillip are joking and say that Hannah should just tell her mom she is dating a woman. During dinner when Isobel starts in on Hannah and her dating life she says her last relationship was with Jamie, a woman. She expects this to get her mom off of her back but the opposite occurs. Both Hannah’s mom and dad are thrilled she finally feels comfortable enough to come out to them. Her mom has been in a group called “Parents of Diversity” for years just waiting for Hannah to “come out” to her.
Hannah’s mom sets her up with one of the daughters of a woman in her group and Hannah sees no way out but to go. She goes out on a date with Ashley, telling her she is straight and the story behind their meeting. Ashley has a meddlesome mother as well and during over many drinks Hannah and Ashley devise a plan to fake date to get their mothers off of their backs. Of course, the best laid plans never work out as intended.
The girls start “dating” and find they enjoy each other’s company. Ashley quickly develops a crush on Hannah and Hannah decides the flutter she gets in Ashley’s presence is only because she’s excited to have a new friend. Getting to know Ashley causes Hannah to see herself in a new light, one she never expected.
I adore Hannah and Ashley. From the moment they met they “saw” each other. Ashley recognizes that Hannah tends to play down her accomplishments and Ashley encourages her to be proud of herself. Hannah sees how being the only kid with brown skin in school still affects Ashley. They click not just physically but emotionally as well. Their friends are wonderful. Hannah’s best friend Phillip and Ashley’s friends Jude and Haz are hilarious and are the kind of supportive yet skeptical friends we all need. Hannah’s mom is irritating but does only wants to see her daughter happy.
HP Munro is a great writer of comedy and this is one of my favorite romcom’s. If you want a story that will make you laugh and warm your heart this is a great choice.
Favorite Quotes: “Dear God, what are you wearing on your feet? You look like a Roman Centurion. Plus, your toenails are an entirely different shade than your fingernails. If you’re going to flash your feet, you could at least make sure the carpet and curtains match.”
“She was flattered her mum thought that as a lesbian. this was the league she would be playing in. The woman was, from a purely objective position, stunning.”
“A little pee might come out. Not that I have an issue in that regard. My pelvic floor is taut, so the nurse said at my last smear. ” Are you sure you’re not a lesbian? I’m only asking cause it only took you an hour to start talking about your vagina.”
“Her parents think she’s gay and she doesn’t want to disappoint them.” “Well, that’s not a phrase you hear too often.”
“I’m going to have to get you to skim over any reference to your lady bits. In my head you’re like a Barbie doll- you have boobs but no nipples and definitely nothing netherly.”