Chloe Brown has a problem. Well, several actually. As a Black woman in Britain with several co-morbid chronic illnesses, she’s always had to be careful with how she lived her life. And unfortunately, she’s realized that she’s not really been living, merely existing.
That ends now.
And being the responsible, awesome woman that she is, she’s got a list of things she wants to do before she kicks the bucket. And she thinks she’s got the perfect person to help her with one of the items on her list. Her tattooed, motorcycle riding shirtless super/artist of her new apartment building.
Let the fun begin!
Because seriously, this book is fun. Amazeballs. Awesome. And so so good. I didn’t know how much I needed this novel in my life until I started reading it. Like I needed this novel ten years ago.
And I most definitely need it now.
The story features a Black, chronically ill, physically disabled woman with all of the mental illnesses and insecurities and anxieties that come with being chronically ill with an invisible illness. But at the same time, she is sweet, and caring, and wonderful, and independent, and capable. Chloe Brown and I wear the same hat. As someone who has an invisible illness, is physically disabled, mentally ill, and has a whole laundry list of ailments, I need to see someone who is like me shown as being awesome while at the same time not being magically cured or worse “Inspiration porn.” Chloe Brown is amazing, but she’s amazing because she is so normal. I could be her. I identified with her. And we need that.
We need diverse heroines!
The book also features a hero who is kind and wonderful and amazing but who also carries his own baggage that is just as heavy as everything that Chloe Brown is carrying. He’s very much a beta hero. And I felt that was appropriate. We need to see that toxic masculinity isn’t the be all and end all of romance novel heroes.
There’s also a cute cat. And side characters who are great. But honestly this is the story of Red and Chloe. And I loved them.
The descriptions of what it’s like to live with a chronic illness are so spot on. I followed Red and Chloe’s romance with a smile on my face and occasionally a tear in my eye. There were miscommunications and misunderstandings which all made sense In the context that they were being given. Because being chronically ill encompasses every inch of your life. And that includes your love life.
There is so much done right in this so many little things that make the story special. This is a story that is going to end up on my favorites shelf and something I’m going to re-read when I want comfort. I highlighted so many passages, I swear that my e-reader was just like “why don’t you highlight the whole book and get it over with?”
I appreciated the trigger warnings at the beginning regarding domestic abuse and abusive situations but I feel there also needs to be trigger warnings for medical trauma and gaslighting. Because this is a book I would recommend to my fellow spoonies that need something helpful in showing that people with chronic illnesses and disabilities are just as worthy and just as capable of loving as people who don’t suffer from these debilitating illnesses. So consider this fair warning. It’s a realistic portrayal of a well off Black woman navigating Britain’s health system. (And that’s important to know since let’s be honest, if this were set in the U.S. the medical trauma and gaslighting would be worse.)
Basically this book is wonderful. Amazing. Faboo. It’s so good.
I read it in one night, and I’m going to read it again. Five stars
If this is your jam, you can get it here. (Or you can get it from your library)
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