Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert | Romance | Little, Brown | 375 pages | Review by Aisha Yusuff
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is the third novel in the Brown Sisters trilogy by British romance writer Talia Hibbert. Like previous books in this series, Act Your Age, Eve Brown gives readers the right mixture of steamy romance and humour. Yet, readers can still identify with the protagonists in many ways since their love is portrayed realistically. Eve is the ‘baby’ of the Brown family. She is a bubbly, colourful Black woman who is unable to keep a job. Jacob, Eve’s love interest, is autistic, selective with friends, and fastidious. He is also the owner of Castell Cottage, a bed-and-breakfast located in Skybriar, a small British county. After Eve’s family holds an intervention about her failed careers, Eve heads to Skybriar in order to get away and rest. Eve loves to bake, and coincidentally, Jacob needs a chef for the cottage and the Pemberton Gingerbread Festival, an annual food event that he has entered. After an awkward interview and an accident that broke Jacob’s arm, the two journey towards a relationship that quickly morphs into something neither envisioned.
Relatable Characters with Realistic Love Stories
If you’ve ever read a romance novel and wondered why the protagonists and plot are unrealistic, then Act Your Age, Eve Brown will stun you with its relatability. Their conversations are natural and their chemistry development flows seamlessly. Even still, Hibbert manages to infuse the realism with the fantasy needed for a romance novel.
Readers are able to connect with both characters and find them likeable. Eve is lively, smiles without reservation, and helps people. However, she is also afraid of failure and yearns to prove her family wrong. Jacob is handsome, but he is insecure and often projects his insecurities onto others. These qualities, both good and bad, invariably contribute to the couple’s choices and how their relationship develops. This is pertinent because many relationships crumble when individual struggles are mismanaged, and Hibbert’s characters manage to weather their storms.
As one of the protagonists, Jacob, is autistic, how Hibbert portrays autism is essential to note. I like that Hibbert zeros in on autism as a spectrum, thus highlighting that autism can present differently for different people. For example, a common misconception is that all people on the spectrum automatically find socializing difficult, but Hibbert’s characters defy this stereotype.
Hibbert accurately depicts how people instinctively use the internet when they suspect health issues. Through Eve, Hibbert emphasises the importance of using verified sources like the National Health Service (NHS) and the National Autistic Society, along with getting a proper diagnosis. Additionally, Act Your Age, Eve Brown features anti-autistic ableism, which is particularly important since many societies are still ignorant of neurological disabilities and differences. Hibbert thoughtfully introduces the story with a trigger warning to notify readers who may be affected.
A Perfect Read to Get Out of a Slump
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is funny, steamy, and mushy. The humour and chemistry between Eve and Jacob shine through in their dialogue so that readers can easily glide through the pages. The romance is genuine, and the love is infectious. Hibbert also includes characters from earlier books in the trilogy, such as Eve’s sisters, which readers of the series will find nostalgic with this final instalment. Act Your Age, Eve Brown also includes a playlist that can be enjoyed along with the story, creating the perfect ambiance to experience Eve and Jacob’s love and to overcome any reading slump.