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MAD ABOUT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane

International bestseller Mhairi McFarlane delivers a sharp, emotional new novel about a woman who calls off her engagement to “the perfect man” and moves in with a charming stranger who makes her question everything about her life, her past, and the secrets she’s kept for far too long…

Harriet Hatley is the most in-demand wedding photographer in town, but she doesn’t believe in romance, loathes the idea of marriage, and thinks chocolate fountains are an abomination. Which is why, when her long-time partner proposes, she panics. Suddenly Harriet is single… and living down the hall from her ex. She needs a new apartment, like, yesterday.

Enter Cal Clarke, a hopeless romantic who just experienced his own wedding-related disaster. Harriet and Cal are like chalk and cheese, but as they go from strangers to roommates to friends, it becomes clear they’re both running from something. When Harriet’s most heavily guarded secret comes to light, her world implodes. And Cal, with his witty humor and gentle advice, is a surprising source of calm at the center of the storm. 

With her career, friendships, and reputation on the line, Harriet must finally face her past in order to take control of her future. Because if she’s willing to stop playing it safe and risk everything to share her truth, real love and happiness may be waiting on the other side…

Title : Mad About Your
Author : Mhairi McFarlane
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 432
Genre : contemporary romance / women’s fiction
Publisher : Avon Books
Release Date : August 9, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Hollis’ 4 star review

I finally got to read one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Did it live up to my expectations? Well, it may not have crossed the five-star threshold but I dove into this right after work and barely moved until I finished it, neglecting meals and more. So that definitely says a lot.

I’ll admit, this does in some ways read a little differently from McFarlane’s other works. It still has the MC going through a complicated life change. It still has a core group of besties (though this, too, has something a little different going on.. shh, no spoilers). It still has a creep-up-on-you kind of romance in the aftermath of the end of a longterm relationship (though this one was an interesting change of pace, too). And it has a challenging set of emotional circumstances to navigate. Infact, I think Harriet might’ve had The Most to go through of any recent McFarlane MC.. and yet she never acted like it. This could’ve been a depressing read, fraught with angst and an overdose of emotional turmoil, and yet it was so well balanced to avoid this but also Harriet, for all her self-proclaimed bad luck, isn’t mopey. Isn’t dwelling. Even if she deserves to do and be both because hoo boy, it’s a lot.

But all that to say.. this is, for this author, an almost flashy kind of story. There’s a bit of a girl gang, Avengers-style, with a Big Bad and the mission to defeat them and the subsequent takedown. In a public way. And it’s all centered around a very timely plot point about a narrative shift, and subsequent support, for an abuser. It’s a bigger scope than most of McFarlane’s stories, which tend to be loud in quiet subtle ways. But it was incredibly important and there was a lot of good dialogue, and perspective, and shifting loyalties to see play out and that was compelling, if occasionally tough, reading.

And, meanwhile, we had some good laughs, some self-discovery, and a slow-burn awakening of something delicious, all in true McFarlane style, as the MC slogs through the mire to earn herself a lovely ending (or beginning, depending on perspective).

I cannot recommend this author enough. I will never get sick of reading her books and every time I chew through a new one it makes me want to go back and reread all the ones that came before.

MAD ABOUT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane 🎧

Two strangers.
One big coincidence.
Driving each other crazy is just the beginning…

Harriet Hatley is running away from everything.

Getting married.
Her boyfriend’s family.
Her past.

A dream house-share seems like the perfect place to hide, but her unlikely housemate Cal is no stranger to running away himself. And he’s also hiding secrets of his own . . .

Can these two take a crazy risk, face the past and finally find a reason to stay?

Title : Mad About You
Author : Mhairi McFarlane
Narrator : Chloe Massey
Format : audiobook
Length : 10 hours, 15 minutes
Page Count : 422
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Harper Collins
Release Date : April 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ .5

Micky’s 3.5 star review

Sarcastic wit
Chips are down
Coercive control

This story from McFarlane was equal parts sarcastic wit and life handing out crap one piece at a time. It started in one place and ended up in completely different location by the end. It took time for the themes of the story to emerge but they were valuable. Romance was very much on the backburner in this book.

The story centered around weddings, the endings of them, the photographing of them and a really impressive finale. Harriet was a likeable heroine, a hardy Yorkshire lass with the best Huddersfield accent on audio (I live 15 minutes away from that location and appreciated that so much). This tale took you on a mainly contemporary but sometimes retrospective journey of the past men in Harriet’s life and it wasn’t pretty.

Emotional abuse in the form of coercive control was a important part of this story and it’s a theme I welcome more about as it is so insidious in it’s form and difficult for victims to speak about and break free from. Bravo, Mhairi for this.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this was a fun read but it was absorbing and enjoyable. Excellent narration.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the audio review copy.