Disclaimer: I don’t typically listen to audio books because it’s not my preferred way to read. In fact, until today, the only audiobook I’ve read was Alison Smith’s Name all the Animals and that was back in 2005. (Fantastic memoir. If you haven’t read it – check it out!) Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown (Avon 2019) is a far cry from that coming-of-age memoir narrated by the author, but I couldn’t hit pause on it. It’s bloody fantastic.
(I should note that I didn’t care for the narrator. She was much older than the characters in the novel, her tone and inflection detracted from some scenes, and her voice for Evie was horrendous, especially considering there’s a line that says all three sisters sound the same.)
Chloe Brown is positively endearing. Her wit and charm, deadpan humor, and inner voice are all brilliant. A chronic pain sufferer, Chloe has been abandoned by most of her friends who don’t understand how to interact and/or respond to her fibromyalgia. This has forced Chloe to develop a very hard shell, and she doesn’t like to let people in. Following a near death experience where a drunk driver narrowly misses her, she decides it’s time she “get a life.” She makes a list of things to do, which includes a drunken night, camping, and riding a motorcycle. As part of her “new” life, she moves out of her family’s home and into a reasonable flat.
Red is and artist and the new superintendent at her apartment. He comes with his own baggage, having been emotionally and physically abused by a high society girlfriend in London. Drowning in self-doubt and imposter syndrome, he disappears from the art world and takes the gig as super. Chloe, with her posh accent, reminds him a bit of his ex and his guard is up around her.
After an incident with a cat in a tree, a tentative friendship develops. Chloe enlists Red to help her with her list, offering her services as a designer to create a website for his art in exchange. An easy and teasing relationship develops while both fight against the attraction they feel. The chemistry is explosive long before the first touch.
Hibbert’s characters ooze with personality, largely developed through hilarious inner monologues. One of my favorite lines is early in the novel when Red hears Chloe and says her voice sounds expensive, “like someone taught a diamond to talk.”
It’s a feel-good novel with extremely likable characters that you root for. As is typical with the genre, there is a misunderstanding that threatens their HEA, and the intensity of that scene as they both struggle with the left-over trauma of past relationships is heartbreaking and realistic; it’s hard to knock down walls.
I loved it. It’s an excellent romance with significant depth to the characters. It has a bit of spice, and I would not recommend listening to certain chapters with the windows rolled down. This is one of three, and I’m curious to see if I’ll love the other Brown sisters as much as Chloe.
I’m late to the game, but read this book.