Book Reviews

MAD ABOUT YOU BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE // spoiler-free book review: meet one of the best adult contemporaries i’ve ever read aka a delightfully british rom-com that has me in a chokehold

Please say hello to this absolute gem of a book that you should be ashamed you haven’t read yet. Yes I do have the right and power to say that about you all and you are not allowed to say it back *hides*

AHHH I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH IT HURTS AND IM SHOVING IT DOWN ALL YOUR THROATS FOR ETERNITY!!!!!

Onwards with the crying/yelling/screeching about this author *wink wink*

Title: Mad About You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Page count: 432
Date published: 14 April 2022
Genre: Adult contemporary fiction

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Synopsis:

Two reluctant housemates.
Two broken promises.
One crazy plan…

Harriet Hatley may be one of the most in-demand wedding photographers in Leeds, but she hates the idea of marriage.

Cal Clarke is used to the world falling in line with his plans – apart from his own love-life, which has gone hopelessly wrong.

When they become unlikely housemates, it’s clear they’re both running away from something bigger.

Can they take a crazy risk to face the past and change everything?

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STAR RATING: (5 out of 5 stars)

 

Trigger warnings for previous relationship emotional abuse

My heart is so full and I am jumping for joy and Mhairi McFarlane is my new idol ilysm

Did I mention I adore this book? And this author? Because I really do. Like a whole lot. A lot a lot SHE’S SO GOOD AND I AM IN AWE AND UGH IM SHOVING THIS DOWN YOUR THROATS FROM NOW ON

One lesson I learnt today: my sixth author sense is simply never wrong. I SAID I would love this author and love her I did. I think Emily Henry also recommends and she is also never wrong. I’m just glad about this earth-shattering revelation today *sighs*

Okay anyways, let’s get into this review!!!

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Before I yell about everything else, I do need to highlight how much I love how British Ms McFarlane’s books are. Of the two (and many more to come might I add) I have read, they are so delightfully British and I am truly living my bestest life. The humour is just SO GOOD I CAN’T EXPLAIN and only British rom-com-y humour can do this and oh it’s too good!!!! Brava brava I say.

Speaking of the humour, the writing is just *CHEFS KISS CHEFS KISS* It hits just the right sweet spot between vulnerable and witty which is my number one combo and I love it so much. Few authors have such a talent for writing but Ms McFarlane does and I need her to teach me her ways,,,

What I love most about her books is how real the characters are, how heartfelt their journeys are to read about but, most of all, how imperfect their lives are and how you navigate this path. The tenderness behind each of these characters makes them so easy to sympathise with and I just love that. Harriet was such a raw and vulnerable character and my heart absolutely ached for her. Her life is messy and complicated and frankly sad and I could feel that on every page. Oftentimes adult contemporary books that deal with complex issues treat these issues like secondary aspects of their characters like it’s just there, but Mhairi McFarlane makes them feel REAL and ugh I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

This book deals with emotional abuse in one (though kind of two, ew Jon) of Harriet’s previous relationships and the way this is handled is so well done!!!! Take notes folks!!!

Harriet needs all the hugs I adore her to bits!!!!!!!!! And so does Cal, my precious he is the bestest and I could scream about this soft and the most perfect romance. This is not your typical rom-com and is probably not for everyone, but she is definitely my type of romance. The chemistry was spot-on, the forced proximity friends to lovers slow-burn is everything I ask for and the ending was perfect I LOVE IT <3<3<3<3

Quick shoutout to the importance of friendships in this book, specifically Lorna what a babe! And Nina, who is amazing.

HARRIET AND CAL WHAT CUTIES OMG I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK READ IT NOW!!!! Open for maybe the best writing ever, heartfelt characters, complex issues and a side of slow-burn romance stunningness. Thank me later xoxoxoxo

“The only advice people ever take is the advice they want to hear.”

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“The way he undermines you gradually: it’s so hard to explain until you’ve been through it. He waits until you’re in love and completely vulnerable and then it starts, and you have no defences.”

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“Maybe money couldn’t buy you happiness; however, it was still a mood-altering, life-changing, addictive substance. It could purchase you not only pleasure, Harriet had discovered, but ease, patience, convenience. A kind of sunny outlook and frictionless existence where your path through any difficulties could always be smoothed by its liberal application.”

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“Scott thrived on being a novelty, buzzed on being the latest, greatest person you’d met. He poured his energies into winning new acquaintances over like a top salesman with his most potentially lucrative client. He’d have effectively been auditioning as a future best man from their first handshake, whether he got the gig or not. Scott, she had realized only with hindsight, liked to overwhelm people.”

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“You felt gratitude that he was so obsessed with you, and gratitude at all his mad spoiling to demonstrate it, and that gratitude made you think you owed him the relationship. He used his spending to oblige you and control things. It wasn’t generosity, it was a messed-up power dynamic.”

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“You know the school science project where you dipped a penny in fizzy drink and it came out shining and new? That’s how you’ve made me feel. Thank you for being the off-brand cola to my coin.”

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“It would’ve been helpful if you’d explained your circumstances rather than to leave me to answer the door to him. He was hammering away like he was being chased by a bear and if I knew there was a looming threat in your life like that, I’d have known to keep it shut.”

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“I wondered if we might be in one of those situations where I’m madly in love with you and you’re at least slightly in love with me, and neither of us are saying so, in case the other isn’t.”


HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? HAVE YOU ADDED IT TO YOUR TBR? HAVE YOU READ ANYTHING BY THIS AUTHOR YET? I’D LOVE TO KNOW!

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