Thanks to partners NetGalley and Avon Books for the digital ARC of Mhairi McFarlane’s Between Us. The book will be published next Tuesday, August 8!
Mhairi McFarlane has long been on my list of authors to read—I’ve seen so many rave reviews from readers I trust that I just knew I would love her work . . . and I was right!
Between Us is a lovely, compelling romance centered on Roisin Walters, a young woman who joins her boyfriend Joe and their long-time friends for a celebration at a luxurious weekend getaway. They’re going to celebrate the launch of Joe’s new show, their friend Dev’s engagement to Anita, and their friend Gina’s birthday, along with Meredith and Matt, the final two members of the group who first bonded when they worked together right out of college.
The weekend does not go as planned. The tension that has been simmering in Roisin and Joe’s relationship surfaces, prompted by the revelation that Joe has used some of Roisin’s family’s secrets on his show. Joe and Matt, who have never been the tightest friends, are sparring, and Matt fumbles through some horrific missteps with Gina, who has had a crush on him forever. It seems their friend group may not survive the weekend.
The novel focuses on the aftermath of the disastrous getaway, on Roisin’s attempts to avoid tension by returning to her hometown to help her mom with her family’s pub, as well as her desire to get to the bottom of Joe’s behavior . . . and on Matt’s valiant efforts to maintain a friendship with Roisin.
McFarlane brilliantly builds both a sense of what made this group so central to each character and also the ways that the years have changed the dynamics between the friends. Roisin is a strong central character whose complex relationships—with Joe, with her friends, and with her family—have shaped her into a compelling and compassionate woman who nevertheless expects to be treated with care and respect and honesty.
I love the way that Roisin and Matt’s friendship grows through the novel, the way that they work through the conflicts of the initial weekend and the challenges that occur as they contend with all that was uncovered. There’s a nuance throughout the novel that in no way took away from the romance. Between Us will definitely not be my last McFarlane novel!
I'm Jen Moyers, co-host of the Unabridged Podcast and an English teacher.