From the publisher:
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…
“McFarlane’s gift is writing romantic comedy that depicts a recognizable world… without dimming the luster of shining moments of humor, love, and connection.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Despite its heavy themes of coping with past abuse and loss, McFarlane’s latest, following Just Last Night (2021), is a mostly lighthearted romp through friendship, love, and starting over. Readers of Marian Keyes will be drawn to this British charmer.” — Booklisthttps://amzn.to/3PBznyi
This is more women’s fiction than romance or rom-com. Harriet has been through a lot; first, several years with an emotional abuser, then a couple of years with basically a rebound, although it takes her a while to figure that out. She meets Cal when she needs to find a new place to live. One of her closest friends is in real estate and tips her off to this room for rent before it gets posted online. A brief phone call later, and Harriet is moving in.
Harriet is a wedding photographer. She has her own business and it has grown pretty much by word of mouth, helped along by social media. She is shocked to find her abusive ex is the best man at a wedding she is shooting and is even more shocked when it turns out the ex is engaged. Feeling a responsibility to perhaps warn his fiancée about him, she sends the young woman a letter, and unfortunately, she shares it with the ex. Payback is brutal and it costs her a lot of business, and eventually a friendship.
Meanwhile, Harriet finds out that her new landlord is actually the runaway groom from a wedding she was supposed to shoot. She’s harbored bad feelings about him ever since, but it’s getting harder to reconcile that behavior with the landlord she has come to know. Harriet and Cal have a spark for sure, but it is very slow burning.
This story is more about abuse and revenge and friendship, but eventually, it leads to a romance with the requisite happy ending. There are some very funny moments as well as a bit of sex. The characters feel real on the page, and I was completely engrossed in their story. This is another winner from McFarlane!
8/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
MAD ABOUT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane. Avon (August 9, 2022). ISBN: 978-0063117945. 416p.