A review by maisierosereads
Take a Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert

emotional funny hopeful lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 ⭐ Full review of this book (and of the other books in the Brown Sisters series) also available on my blog!

Just like in the other books in this series, I need to take a moment to talk about how much I love Talia Hibbert’s writing before getting into this specific book. It’s no wonder that she’s a bestselling author – her writing style is polished, emotive (I’m talking laughing out loud right through to crying as I read these books), and beautifully descriptive. And although the plot and setting of these books are realistic in a relatively down-to-earth way, I still felt as though I was escaping into a better version of life when I read it. Much like with the other two books in this series, I found it really difficult to put Take a Hint, Dani Brown down; I read almost all of it on Sunday, then finished it off over my weetabix before work on Monday.

If you follow a similar set of readers to me, you’ll have seen this book recommended because it’s full of Black joy and a diverse cast of characters. The main couple are Danika (a Black bisexual woman working on her PhD) and Zafir (a Pakistani man with an anxiety disorder who reads romance novels and started a charity to get boys talking about mental health through sport). Dani is a witch with an altar to the goddess Oshun, and Zaf comes from a Muslim family (though he is not actively religious). As with all of the other marginalised identities celebrated in Hibbert’s books, the representation of both of these characters’ intersecting identities is respectful, realistic, and relatable.

I loved how well-rounded these characters are from the beginning, but their development throughout the book is truly wonderful. Dani is far from being a perfect love interest at the start of the book, given that she is so opposed to forming romantic attachments that she has lost friendships – not (as she makes clear) because she is aromantic, but because she doesn’t want to make room for anything more than casual sex in her life. She prays to Oshun for “a regular source of orgasms […] someone who won’t expect more from me than I can give” expecting a friend-with benefits, but as the book progresses (and Oshun showers her in hints), it becomes clear that what she actually needed was to learn what a healthy relationship looks like. Dani begins to properly evaluate these feelings and the reasons for them, allowing her to start making amends towards the people she has hurt in the past and to stop self-sabotaging in the present.

Meanwhile, Zafir also undergoes an emotional journey of self-improvement: he thinks that he is “over” the grief from the deaths of his dad and brother (as well as the awful way he found out about the accident and the way he was treated afterwards), but comes to realise that the lasting effects of his grief are having a definite impact on his ability to successfully run his charity and move on with his life, since he felt unable to share his motivations and was understandably scared of being recognised by the people who knew him in his previous career as a professional rugby player.

In terms of the romance? This book features several much-loved romance tropes – think fake dating meets friends with benefits – and Hibbert pulls them off excellently. You also have a side of “opposites attract” in that at the start of the book Dani is very unapolagetic about wanting lots of sex but no romance, whereas Zaf is a big romantic and considers sex to be a pretty big deal. The pacing of how this begins to change as the characters (and their relationship) develop felt spot-on.

Mixed in with all of this are plenty of hilarious moments, heartwarming scenes with family members and friends, a symposium, and (of course) a good dose of smut. Most importantly, this book shows what it means to work on developing healthy relationships, and that despite the risk of pain it is entirely possible for everyone, no matter their trauma, to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Overall, I’m sure you won’t be surprised that I highly recommend Take a Hint, Dani Brown, or that I will definitely be rereading it. It was well worth the 99p it cost me to get the eBook from Hive!

Get a copy with my affiliate links:

Expand filter menu Content Warnings