– Act Your Age, Eve Brown
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. New York: HarperCollins, 2021. 400 pp.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is the final installment in Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sister’s trilogy. Following best-sellers and romance fan-favorites Get a Life, Chloe Brown and Get a Clue, Dani Brown, this one is the tale of the youngest Brown sister finding love, and herself, away from the tender, and sometimes overwhelming, embrace of her family.
As the youngest of three sisters in a high achieving family – Mum & Dad are lawyers, Granny was a famous singer, Chloe is a successful web designer and Dani a brilliant professor for Pete’s sake – Eve Brown has always struggled to find her place. Having bounced around and gotten bored with or given up on several “passions”, Eve thought she’d finally got things sorted with event planning. But, when things go awry at a swanky society wedding she’s planned for one of her friends (someone had to rescue those poor mistreated doves), Eve’s washed out of yet another profession. And what’s worse, this time her parents are putting their foot down. It’s time for Eve to shape up, get a real job and act her age. So, Eve panics, jumps in her car and starts driving.
Just when she’s feeling hungry, Eve spots a sign for the fairy tale-esque village of Skybriar. What luck, the local B&B, Castell Cottage, happens to be seeking a chef. Does Eve have any professional cooking experience? No. But, she has always loved cooking, and baking, and taking care of people, so she waltzes in to interview and upends icy, disturbingly handsome Jacob Wayne’s life. At first, he doesn’t see the advantage of having a gorgeous, purple-haired chaos demon in his kitchen, but after a stern talking to from his friend (and temporary chef) Monty, Jacob relents and tries to catch Eve before she gets away. Once outside, Eve promptly, and accidentally, hits Jacob with her car. Spatial awareness has never been her strong suit.
With Jacob concussed, his arm broken, and his B&B way understaffed, Eve is determined to help. Her brand of helping, by infiltrating every area of his life, including his spare bedroom, should drive an autistic perfectionist mad. Instead, Jacob finds himself being charmed by every bit of Eve, her sunny personality, her luscious curves and golden brown skin, even her constant singing. And somehow, Eve is really good at this hospitality thing, the guests love her and her cooking, might Jacob love her too? This is a romance novel, so you see where this is going, an enemies-turned-lovers happily ever after that reaches its destination in hilarious and very hot ways.
Hibbert’s novels always involve a journey of self-discovery for her heroes and heroines, Eve and Jacob are no exception. Both of the main characters are on the autism spectrum, and Hibbert deftly explores the ways this intersects with other areas of their life. It makes Jacob excel at his job, and has contributed to Eve’s failures, especially since she’s never been diagnosed. It’s Jacob’s self-awareness that helps Eve to see that her peculiar behavior, ticks and memory issues are more than what have been written off as signs of a flighty nature. We get to see Eve come into her power, and Jacob relax into himself, as they truly help each other become their best selves.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a soothing, joyful delight, and a perfect finish to Hibbert’s trilogy about the quirky Brown Sisters. Fire up Eve’s empowerment playlist, and get ready to fall in love.
Lacey Tobias is a Library Assistant at Graham Library. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.