Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A romance with a fat lead
Get a Life, Chloe Brown, by Talia Hibbert
Chloe is a well-off web designer who'd become somewhat isolated because of a painful chronic illness. Red is her building superintendent, with dreams of being an artist. They get off on the wrong foot, but Red needs someone to help him create a website for his paintings, and Chloe needs help with the "get a life" list she made for herself after a near-death experience.
The playful insults and banter are part of what makes the book shine. Hibbert has a real gift for dialogue. The tropes are familiar (enemies to lovers, platonically sharing a bed), but well deployed. Chloe's fibromyalgia isn't downplayed, and it isn't going to get a miraculous cure; Chloe gets to have a full life, including a satisfying sex life, while managing chronic pain and exhaustion.
I'll admit to a dislike for the trope where someone overhears a partial conversation, misinterprets it, and it leads to an angry breakup. At least in this case, the overreaction makes sense: Red's last relationship was with an abusive woman who constantly belittled him. But I knew what the misinterpretation would be from the moment I saw Chloe's list.
As a teen, I read a few very stereotypical romances, and quickly became bored with stories of domineering men and the passive women who loved them. All these years later, I'm glad I tried romances again, and discovered there's now room for all kinds of love stories, with believable issues, men I'd actually enjoy meeting, and heroines who've learned to get a life.