“He’s gone, Harriet,” Sam croaked, eventually, with wild eyes. He uttered it with the kind of brokenness and weight people usually reserved for when the meant: passed to the other side. 

“Who’s gone?”

“The groom!” The best man gestured with both arms outstretched at the empty space next to him. 

Harriet checked her watch. Ten minutes to the official kickoff. 

“Get him back pronto, or she’ll arrive without him here,” she whispered urgently. 

“That’s the idea,” said Sam, who looked as if he were having an anesthesia-free foot amputation aboard a haunted boat in a storm. “He’s gone-gone. For good.”

Mad About You will take your heart on an emotional roller coaster ride. 

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…

Mad About You definitely falls on the more serious side of the rom-com genre. I would even go as far as to say that it’s more a fiction book than a romance. There aren’t many light fluffy moments, and even the romantic aspect of the story is on the light side. Now that being said, this book is beautifully written and is a powerful and emotional read. I should warn readers that this book has major triggers around abuse, cheating, and just toxic relationships. If these are hard things for you to read, this book is probably not for you. 

The story follows Harriet, whose boyfriend Jon proposes to her in front of his family. Harriet is not interested in marriage (with anyone) and decides that her relationship with Jon has come to an end. Harriet finds a room to rent and hopes she and Jon can go their separate ways. But as you can imagine, things don’t go that way (it would be a very short book if it did). I went into this book thinking that this breakup scene would be done and over within the first few chapters. That was not the case. Their breakup is drawn out (almost to the end of the story) and takes some ugly turns. Jon doesn’t take the ending of their relationship very well and starts to resort to manipulative and toxic behaviour to try to win Harriet back. As much as this drawn-out breakup was unexpected on my part, I appreciated how Mhairi broke that typical “break up” mould and showed readers how toxic breakups could become. 

During this story, Harriet also bumps into another ex-boyfriend, Scott. Her relationship with Scott is full of psychological abuse and gaslighting. Scott and his abuse are a big part of this book. He’s a pretty terrible character, and I really just wanted to jump into this book and punch him in the nose. Mhairi does a good job of showing readers abuse’s effect on its victims. She also highlights how hard it is for victims of abuse to come forward. There is this fear that no one will believe and also having to relive that abuse. This part of the book is intense and will affect your emotions. But Mhairi does a brilliant job at approaching this tough issue with understanding and thoughtfulness. 

One bright and light thing in this book was the friendship between Harriet and Lorna. These two were just incredible. The support and encouragement they gave each other were just so heartwarming. I loved how they could laugh and give each other that push they needed to succeed. 

The relationship between Harriet and Cal was bumpy and not smooth sailing. Both characters have a lot of emotional baggage (mostly around terrible exes), and a lot of misunderstandings happen between them. I liked the fact that their story wasn’t an insta love story. Heck, even their friendship wasn’t smooth sailing. But even when things were rocky between them, they were still there to support and listen to each other.

Thank you, HarperCollins Canada, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.