So! I really loved Chloe throughout this book, and without even checking I can imagine that her character might have been what made some people dislike this story. She’s got a very clear, present sass/verve/vibe to her, which actually brought her entire character to life for me in a snap.
“I make lists” is a character trait used as a shorthand for all manner of words that we no longer deem kosher to describe female protagonists. Uptight. Shrew. Needs To Get A Man. Kiss Me, Kate has barely limped to the 21st century, but the adventures of Katherina and Petruchio have been deemed problematic for a while now.
So, today, the “I make lists” character is one who is one or all of those things but we’re on her side. Usually it makes me laugh a bit, but in this case it just adds to the clicky-ness that is Chloe Brown. I’m not saying that her fibromyalgia is a convenient plot device. It’s a unifying theme throughout the book, a filter through which she has to comport herself and live her life. It’s a fine line to walk as an author of a cartoon cover romance novel, to give a taste of the life that Chloe leads without making it seem like all Chloe is is her fibro. Because, after all, that’s how Chloe herself sees it–a never forgotten but mostly managed fact of life.
I think I was less taken with Red, but largely because he’s starting this game at a disadvantage (the book is, after all, about Chloe getting a life).
At the end of the day, my demotion has to do with the ending. It’s not a spoiler that there is a HEA in this book, but for once a HFN (Happy For Now) type ending would have rung more true given the true and present trauma that Chloe has had to process in her journey. Chloe has experienced the loss of friends and fiance as a consequence of her fibromyalgia, and a sometimes self-imposed, sometimes fibro imposed limitation to her day to day activities. I’m glad we saw an epilogue of a year later, but this is one story where a rushed love-at-first-sight type first ending read very…off. Of course it’s easy to love Chloe over the course of a few months (or weeks? I find time hard to keep track of in these books). The real question is, will Red stick around longer?