Between Us

A Novel

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Pub Date 08 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 03 Oct 2023

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International bestseller Mhairi McFarlane delivers a witty, clever, emotional new novel about a woman whose life unravels spectacularly after her screenwriter boyfriend uses their relationship as inspiration for his new television show.

When Roisin and Joe join their friends for a weekend at a country house, it’s a triple celebration—a birthday, an engagement, and the launch of Joe’s shiny new TV show. But as the weekend unfolds, tensions come to light in the group and Roisin begins to question her own relationship. And as they watch the first episode of Joe’s drama, she realizes that the private things she told him—which should have stayed between them—are right there on the screen.

With her friend group in chaos and her messy love life on display for the whole world to see, Roisin returns home to avoid the unwanted attention and help run her family’s pub. But drama still follows, in the form of her dysfunctional family and the looming question: what other parts of her now-ex’s show are inspired by real events? Lies? Infidelity? Every week, as a new episode airs, she wonders what other secrets will be revealed.

Yet the most unexpected twist of all is Matt, the charming playboy of her friend group, who is suddenly there for Roisin in ways she never knew she needed…

International bestseller Mhairi McFarlane delivers a witty, clever, emotional new novel about a woman whose life unravels spectacularly after her screenwriter boyfriend uses their relationship as...

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Featured Reviews

Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane is another incredible romance by Mhairi.

This book was written so well. The writing in this book was beautiful.
I loved the characters and the storyline development of this book truly kept me turning the pages.
Written with perfect chemistry, so smart, very humorous, extremely entertaining and heartfelt you’ll pick this book up and not be able to put it down.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

Thank You NetGalley and Avon for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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I am a self-professed Stan of Mhairi McFarlane's, so it is not particularly shocking when I say that I flew through this novel! At the start of this novel we are thrown into Joe and Roisin's tense relationship while on a friends weekend getaway to celebrate a whole host of things, including the season premiere of Joe's new show. The weekend just gets messier and messier as things unfold(and truths get told) and this is part of my love for this book! This has to be Mhairi's most dramatic(in terms of friendships) book. This book is not the most emotional of hers in my opinion, but the writing and the characters makes up for it. I do however wish that some things had gotten a little more page time(i.e the romance and family drama, hell even some of the side characters deserved more) but what I did get I ate up. And of course I will always complain that I need an actual epilogue(come on Mhairi!!). A solid 4 star read. Not my fave of hers, but I will definitely read it again!

Big thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read from one of my favorite authors before pub day!

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This is an offbeat, heartfelt rom-com. McFarlane’s writing feels like it elevates the genre the same way that Emily Henry’s does. A great read!

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This is my first book by this author and I honestly can't wait to dig into more of her work. This is not a lighthearted rom-com. The author explores adult friendship dynamics across a friend group where everyone is at different points in their careers, love lives, and socio-economic brackets.

Our FMC Roisin discovers that her significant other has used personal stories she shared in confidence as 'inspiration' for his latest TV drama. Not only that, but the core group of friends in the show is eerily similar to their group. Roisin begins to wonder how different the main character in the show is from Joe. While navigating this, she also deals with complex family relationships, teaching teenagers literature, and sorting out past traumas.

I really enjoyed the way this was laid out and especially enjoyed the relationship between Roisin the other women in their friend group. The open and honest communication they had was a 180 from the way Joe spoke to Roisin throughout most of the book.

The book deals with themes of gaslighting, manipulation, and adultery so, as always, please keep that in mind before jumping in yourself. Truly enjoyed this novel and hope it does well when it releases this August!

Thanks to NetGalley, Avon, and Harper Voyager for sharing this digital advance reader copy with me in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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Pure brilliance, this book! I am a massive Mhairi McFarlane fan, so not at all surprised by yet another brilliant story by her! I am surprised, however, at how she was able to mash up a romance and, quite frankly, a mystery! The romance bits were almost secondary to the mystery of Joe's (possible) duplicity and cuckoldry. I was so wrapped up in did he/didn't he that I found myself looking at my own partner like he was Jasper Hunter! Needless to say, I was absolutely captive to this story- couldn't put it down! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Special thanks to Mhairi McFarlane, Netgalley, and HarperCollins Publishers for sharing this digital ARC with me in exchange for my honest review.

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Mhairi McFarlane has been an auto-read author for me since 2016, and any of her upcoming books automatically make it to my most anticipated releases of the year list. To say I dropped everything once I got an ARC of this book is not an exaggeration. While Between Us isn’t my favorite of her books, I still really enjoyed it! Between Us follows a woman who discovers her long-term screenwriter boyfriend isn’t who she always thought he was, amidst the implosion of their tightly knit friend group.

Roisin has known her friend group since they all worked at Waterstones together ten years ago. They’re all gearing up for a weekend away to celebrate an engagement, a birthday, and the premiere of her boyfriend Joe‘s new show. Over the past year, Roisin has felt Joe pulling away from her and their relationship, but the breaking point comes when she realizes he’s used her painful secrets as a plot line in his show. Even worse, the show is centered around a serial cheater, leaving Roisin to wonder just how much truth he’s written into this show.

I really loved the characters! The friend group is a strange amalgamation of people tied together since they all worked together. There’s Dev, someone so likable that he won a reality show a couple years ago. Now, he’s struck it big and isn’t afraid to shower his friends with money, however uncomfortable they may be. Matt is a so-called playboy but not without a kind heart; Gina is the sweetest of all of them and has been in love with him for years. Meredith provides support to everyone and can be depended to give you the harsh, but necessary, truth. And then there’s Joe, Roisin’s screenwriter boyfriend whose career has taken off after a small show he wrote for became an international success.

Roisin lives in fear of all of them growing apart, especially since all of their lives have gone in such different paths. She particularly thinks her and Joe’s relationship would only contribute to this, so she’s been mostly ignoring the fact that he doesn’t seem to like her, or Matt, anymore. However, after she watches Joe’s new show, she can’t help but realize that this is the end for her.

The book really centers around the end of their relationship, albeit just in Roisin’s head at first. A lot of the beginning is her considering whether or not it’s right to end things, given the new revelations. It’s no small thing to break up with someone she’s built a life with, and she wants to consider all her options. I liked that while she turns to Gina and Meredith for advice, and then to Matt for help, they all support her while also maintaining a realistic tone. By that, I mean it’s easy for Roisin to spiral in this situation but the three of them keep her on a more sane path.

Amidst all this, Roisin returns to her childhood home to help her mother out. She’s always had a tense relationship with her, especially since she’s very toxic and more obviously favors Roisin’s emotionally unavailable younger brother. I liked that she does realize over time that, despite their differences, there’s love there. Their relationship might not be perfect, but they can hold this complex love at least, something important when Roisin’s just lost a long-term relationship with now tainted memories.

The romance is a bit leaner in this book than I expected, but that was honestly for the best. I love how Mhairi McFarlane always slowly builds up the couple’s rapport in her books, and this one was no exception. Reading this book made me want to go back and reread all of her books now! Something about her writing just clicks with me. I ended up speeding through this book because I couldn’t put it down.

Between Us documents the slow, and then fast, decline of a long-term relationship and how that affects a mutual friend group. It had all the heart and wit of McFarlane’s other works, and I really liked the story and characters. If you’re a fan of this author’s previous books or are looking for a woman’s fiction/romance title, I would definitely recommend Between Us!

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Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC of "Between Us" in exchange for my honest review. This novel follows a close knit group of friends in their early 30s. They all met years ago at a local book store and this novel now follows their complex relationships ten years later. Our two main characters Rosin and Joe are a teacher and writer who share both an inillectual bond and a long time friendship. Their friends come together to celebrate the release of Joe's show. Throughout the book Roisin and Joe unravel their complicated feelings for eachother. I thought this was a super fun and quick read! I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a friends to lover troupe.

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Some angel at Avon Books granted me access to Mhairi McFarlane’s novel, and I dropped everything I was reading and raced through it in 12 hours! It was delightful to experience McFarlane’s narrative voice again, which is always kind, psychologically astute, and funny as hell.

Between Us has an excellent set up— it asks, what if your long term boyfriend has become a wildly successful screenwriter and, just as your relationship becomes rocky, releases a new series that appears to be based on your relationship and friend group, but portrays your life in a disturbing light?

Roisin knows that Joe’s police procedural television show is not exactly a documentary. To start with, Joe isn’t a detective. However, when she spots one personal scene taken straight out of her own life, she can’t help but suspect more of the show has been lifted from reality.

Like most of McFarlane’s novels, Between Us deals with complicated family ties, an endearing crew of friends, and includes a romance you can root for. Compared to past novels, McFarlane’s latest focuses less on romance. I didn’t mind since I found the psychological drama fascinating and really well executed.

If you enjoy reading about relationships—both romantic and platonic, I highly recommend this delightful interpersonal drama! Thank you to Avon, Harper Voyager and NetGalley for the advanced readers copy. Between Us releases on August 8th.

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I had a good time with this! I found it extremely relatable as a 28 YO female.

Pros: I felt like the FMC was incredibly relatable, and portrayed an adult that has spent a lot of time in a relationship that she now realizes was a waste of time & struggles with what to do next. As she realizes who she is and what she wants in life throughout the book, I am so happy for her. I felt like while ending may be somewhat predictable, the final twist was not something I really saw coming.

Cons: I do feel like the lies went on a tad long. It was a very very long first act break up.

All in all, I would definitely recommend to someone who wants a relatable contemporary romance with a good plot, a friends themed friend group, and a HEA.

*many thanks to the publisher for my ARC*

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This was my first exposure to this author, and I found the story engaging and entertaining.

The protagonist, Roisin, has been in a relationship with Joe, a screenwriter, for almost ten years, although things have been cooling off for months. Both are part of a group of friends who met working in a bookstore in their early twenties and call themselves The Brian Club. As the story begins, the group has gathered to celebrate an engagement and to view the premier of Joe’s new television series.

As you might imagine, in the decade since the group formed, there have been many changes in circumstances – shifting relationships, career developments and financial disparities – that leave the group less cohesive. The opening episode of Joe’s new show reveals an event that Roisin had shared in confidence; his use of the graphic scene without telling her has left her feeling shocked and betrayed. It plants the seed that leads Roisin to begin to question if she really knows Joe and what he is capable of doing. In other words, how much of his writing stems from creative imagination and how much may be based on deceitful reality?

Over the next few weeks, Roisin becomes a bit of a sleuth, begins to heal her estranged relationship with her mother and begins to realize she has feelings for a long-time friend. While I found the storyline engaging, I felt the character development was uneven among the members of The Brian Club. The descriptions of Roisin’s interactions with her students added a touch of levity to an otherwise serious novel.

My thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for the privilege of reviewing this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon upon publication.

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Another winner from Mhairi McFarlane!
Roisin (Ro-SHEEN), her longtime boyfriend, Joe, and their fellow former bookstore employee friend group, The Brian Club, are off for a weekend of various group celebrations, including watching the premiere of screenwriter Joe's new crime drama. Roisin is horrified when on-screen events and characters seemingly mirror secrets of her childhood and possibly implicate Joe's infidelity. Joe swears it's creative license, but Roisin starts to see pieces that don't fit quite right and the more she digs, the more suspicious she becomes. 
I really, really loved this one. Mhairi has a talent for writing messy, imperfect characters with flaws and spirit who are tackling big, current, adult issues while both screwing up and triumphing. There's also plenty of witty charm and laughs. Deep into one of Mhairi's books, I always feel engaged and drawn into the story, the unapologetic realness and inspiration she weaves in. This book in particular was twisty and suspenseful with gaslighting and relationship toxicity. I was absolutely sucked in until that beautiful, perfect ending. The side characters add so much, I loved the Brian Club! It's always a treat to dive into a new Mhairi book and this was no exception. 
Many thanks to Harper Collins Avon for the advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

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I am such a huge fan of Mhairi McFarlane- literally have enjoyed everything I have read by her and this is no exception! This story was the perfect blend of romance and mystery and she always, always manages to write a strong FMC which I am here for. I think the topics of friendship and relationships are hard to cover, especially for people in their early 30s. Everyone has a group of friends they met when they were in college and it takes a lot to make those friendships last over the years. Inevitably, you worry about everyone drifting apart which we see Rosh deal with. And I would say most of us have had our own experiences with a gaslighting sig-other at some point, so that being talked about here really resonated with me personally. I'm glad Rosh was able to see past Joe being a total wank and trusting her gut that something was off in their relationship. Honestly, a great read- I was so happy with how everything worked out and Mhairi will always be an auto-read author for me.

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Having read and enjoyed other books by Mhairi McFarlane, I was excited to sent an early copy of this book. And it did not disappoint!
In the beginning it was hard to see where the plot was going, but once I saw how the story was going to play out I could not put this book down. I basically finished it in a single sitting. It definitely was not written like a typical romance novel, which really increased my enjoyment of Between Us. I also really enjoyed how the characters in this book were written! Will definitely be recommending it!

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Generally speaking, I read fiction across multiple genres. I love this because if I'm feeling a reading slump in one, there are others I can reach for that I will adore. This all to say... I haven't been in love with a book in weeks, and a friend of mine suggested we start Between Us. It was love at first word. I wish everyone wrote with Mhairi's wit and deep dive into characters.
Roisin and Joe join their friends for a weekend getaway and series of celebrations. Unbeknownst to Roisin, they'll watch the series premier of Joe's new show between the engagement and birthday festivities. She doesn't expect secrets she's shared to be displayed on screen in excruciating detail and can't help but think he's using other life experiences as inspiration as well. Hollywood's calling and Joe leaves Roisin to figure out how she wants to proceed alone.
I didn't anticipate some of the twists that came, but the more disappointed I became in one character, the more I gravitated and adored another. Even the supporting cast is incredibly well done. The end result was perfection. I eagerly anticipate her books every year and I am never disappointed.
Thank you to Avon and Harper Voyager for the advanced copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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Mhairi McFarlane just never disappoints. She continues to come up with completely new storylines in amazing ways. While it doesn't surpass my favorite MM book, Don't You Forget About Me, I still really enjoyed it and the characters.

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Mhairi McFarlane does it again! She is one of my favorite authors and can never wait to get my hands on a new book. This book was not my favorite of hers, but still managed to be a 5-star book! As it begun, I was not quite sure where it was going. Unlike those books where you suss out the main characters in the first few pages, I wasn't sure about this for a while. However, even being a little lost in where the book was going, Mhairi writes so well that I enjoyed just being along for the ride. Then, as the plot revealed itself, I was fully invested and couldn't put it down.

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Such a sweet storyy about losing and finding love while losing and finding yourself. A little bit of a puzzle wrapped in a charming story about a circle of friends who might be drifting apart - and knitting back together.

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Joe and Roisin have been the couple in their friend group for years but since Joe's writing career has taken off Roisin feels like they are drifting apart. At a weekend celebration with their friend's they watch the first episode of Joe's new show and Roisin is stunned to see a secret she told him as part of the plot. How can she stay in a relationship with someone that betrays her trust? As she tries to figure out what is next she starts to take a closer look at her relationship with Joe and wonder if any of it was true. The more she questions the more she sees not only about Joe but also about herself and their friends.

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Another great story from Mhairi McFarlane. From the very beginning of this one it's clear that the main character and her boyfriend are going to break up, and he was terrible, so about 50% of the pleasure of reading this book was wrapped up in watching her find out more things about what a crap man he was. The other 50% of the pleasure of reading this book was all the things at which Mhairi McFarlane excels in creating: a lovely cast of supporting characters that make up the main character's friend group, complex family relationships, a crush-worthy love interest, and a main character who knows their worth instead of being a sad sack. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this one early!

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Mhairi McFarlane is one of my favorite authors. She always delivers novels with smart, witty dialog, humor, great characters (including supportive friends), a slow-ish burn romance and meaningful insight into human relationships. Between Us did not disappoint. Upon discovering that her television script writer boyfriend has been using private things from her life in his shows, Roisin starts questioning all the relationships in her life: family, friends, work and most definitely, the one with her gaslighting boyfriend. This story of discovery was both compelling and satisfying. Recommend!

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You know from the jump that Joe and Roisin are going to break up, so the majority of the story centers around discovering if Joe is just lowkey crappy or a full POS. Roisin does have to look at her role in the relationship, the trauma she carries from her childhood, and the complicated dynamics of an old friend group, but it feels like it happens so quickly and thoroughly that it doesn't feel as earned as a similar storyline has in other romance books. The romances we're meant to be rooting for seem secondary to the need for everyone to get therapy and find a secure foundation for themselves to simply be people in the world. There were a few laugh-out-loud moments that I enjoyed, especially in the banter between the girls in the friend group.

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Thank you NetGalley and Avon for the ARC! Mhairi McFarlane's latest romance follows teacher Roisin as she and her boyfriend of several years, Joe, travel for a friend's group vacation. Their relationship has been struggling recent;y as Joe has been garnering success as a screenwriter and neglecting Roisin. This trip could be a make or break for the couple and when Joe's new series seems too much of a parallel to their lives (and the lives of their friends) Roisin is leaning more toward the break. Has Joe been unfaithful? Much of the book follows Roisin's quest for the truth and while the love interest is charming and it makes for a sweet reconnection or fulfillment of what could be, it does take a back seat to much of the toxic relationship drama. This is still an excellent book from Mhairi McFarlane with authentic characters and an engaging plot.

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I was thoroughly enthralled with this book. I stayed awake half the night so I could finish it. I love Roisin. I feel for her. I’m glad she got her happy start. I love her group of friends, they are the best, especially Matt. I wish I could reach into the book and smack Joe around some though. He was truly despicable.

“Yes, a happy start. Or. In one word. ‘Hope,’” Roisin said, smiling.

“‘I have been bent and broken but—I hope—into a better shape . . .’”

If you haven’t been able to tell, I loved everything about this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager, Avon for this ARC. ~I was given this book and made no commitments to leave my opinions, favorable or otherwise~

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I always scramble to download the newest Mhairi McFarlane novel and I have yet to be disappointed. I absolutely love her books for how f*cking funny they are, the character growth, the well-developed friendships and supporting characters, and the British regional accents. Between Us is another wonder. The humor is like Lorelai Gilmore meets Bill Nighy. And I liked that the plot formula was switched up a bit. It felt fresh.

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Mhairi McFarlane's latest offering is both a generous ode to friendship and an excellent example of gaslighting in an intimate relationship. Fully recommend.

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I'm a sucker for these types of books. I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining and I flew right through it.

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This is a fascinating and entertaining British story about a teacher and her close group of male and female friends. At times it felt like the British version of the Friends’ tv show. Roisin and her friends have been together for over a decade. Roisin supported her boyfriend (Joe) during that time, encouraging his career as a writer. Joe is finally making it big with a short series. His show turns out to be an eye-opener for Roisin, since she is convinced that it’s based on himself and on their relationship. The main character is a pathological liar and a persistent cheater. Roisin struggles to figure out the truth of her long relationship with Joe, as she works in her mom’s pub over a school break. Meanwhile, the attractive single man in their group of friends is dealing with his own problems, including conflicts with Joe and people viewing him as a shallow player. Matt even withdraws from the friend-group. After he loses his job temporarily, Matt offers to help out at Roisin’s family pub. There are some plot twists and lots of character development along the way to a HEA. I really enjoyed being in Britain for this story, and thought it was great woman’s literature. Recommended! I received an advance copy for free and am leaving this review voluntarily.

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This follows a teacher named Roisin and her friend group, that also includes her serious boyfriend, Joe, of many years. He is the writer for a tv show that is airing while the whole group is on a weekend trip together. While watching it, she starts to question some things involving their relationship because she notices the show has some real life influence.

I really love character driven books that have some drama and lots of witty and fun dialogue between friends etc. This was so fun and I loved the unexpected romance and how sweet it was. Also a great story that shows the sad reality of dealing with a toxic person. Definitely recommend!

This releases 8/8!

Thank you so much to @netgalley , @avonbooks and @harpervoyagerus for the digital arc in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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Thanks to Netgalley & Harper Collins for the E-ARC! I really enjoyed this one. The characters were cute and I liked the storyline a lot! Will read more from this author!

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