Act your age, Eve Brown is Talia Hibbert’s latest novel and final installment of her Brown Sister Book Trilogy that satisfyingly concludes Eve’s, the youngest Brown sister, self-fulfillment arc.
Talia Hibbert is a Black woman author from the United Kingdom who writes romance novels involving marginalized identities. Specifically, Hibbert’s critically acclaimed, Brown Sister Book Series follows three sisters—Chloe, Danika, and Eve Brown as they find love in unconventional places.
Following in the footsteps of her older sisters, it’s 26-year-old Eve Brown’s turn at finding romance. However, Eve is a described hot mess. She’s perceived by others, namely her parents, to be flaky, inconsistent, unmotivated, and all too juvenile for a woman her age. What’s worse, Eve is abruptly kicked out and financially cut off by her parents with the hopes that Eve’s newfound independence can gain her some maturity.
In turn, Eve becomes determined to counter her parent’s underestimation of her.
Luckily, Eve stumbles upon a quaint bed-and-breakfast, looking to hire a new chef. Eve believes she has enough wit to charm her way into the position despite her lacking resume. However, Jacob Wayne, perpetual grouch, perfectionist, and owner of said quaint B&B is alternatively convinced Eve doesn’t meet the standards of Castell Cottage by a long shot.
Until Eve “accidentally” hits him with her car.
To rectify her parent’s disappointment, her own self-doubt, and the fact that she’s left Jacob with many injuries, Eve takes over as Castell’s newest chef and finds helping people might just be her calling. Over time, Jacob’s cold exterior comes down, due in part to Eve’s natural charisma and impressive hospitality skills. The two then become complementary work and life partners who value each other’s quirks and lovingly reassure each other’s cynicism.
Readers of Act your age, Eve Brown who are familiar with Chloe and Dani’s story will find the heart-warming storylines, comical banter, steamy romance scenes, and utterly lovable heroine and hero in this book akin to the first two Brown Sister novels.
New readers, on the other hand, will be struck with a satisfying warmth after finishing the book, desperately searching for more content from Hibbert. So this is your sign to go purchase the entire book series if you haven’t already. However, Act your age works perfectly fine as a standalone novel as well, for this book contains similar enough themes to books one and two. So, purchasing all the books is not entirely necessary unless preferred.
Act your age, Eve Brown also provides beloved classic romantic-comedy tropes such as ‘enemies-to-lovers,’ while also bringing some (always) welcomed additions to the genre such as representation for marginalized communities. Eve is a plus-sized Black woman who also later finds she exists somewhere on the autistic spectrum like Jacob. Hibbert is an expert at balancing the reality of her character’s intersecting identities guiding their personal perspectives while also not having those identities dominate the plot.
Notably, Hibbert also doesn’t reduce Eve’s identities to the struggle narrative that often accompanies Black female characters in the romance genre. Rather, like many of Hibbert’s Black female heroines, Eve’s relationship with Jacob is an addition to her character arc involving discoveries toward independence and confidence.
As for Jacob, his autism, similarly, does not force him to settle for less-than-deserving romantic prospects as is sometimes the false perception for disabled people interested in dating. Together, he and Eve are able to explore healthy boundaries and communication and become self-actualized individuals perfectly fit for each other (even if they began as enemies).
Overall, to no surprise, Act your age, Eve Brown met the expectations I’ve grown to expect from Hibbert and the Brown Sister Book Series. Act your age has passion, heart, humor, and entertaining inner monologues that can keep pace with the addictive banter-filled dialogue between characters.
Hibbert has quickly grown to be one of my favorite authors. I began reading the Brown sister’s stories last year, starting with Chloe Brown. Afterward, I became addicted to Hibbert’s writing style and was elated to discover Dani and Eve’s stories would soon follow. What I believe sets the Brown Sister Series apart from other rom-coms is they are genuinely funny while also capable of exploring sensitive themes with the care they deserve.
The identities or marginalizations of the characters in Hibbert’s novels are never treated as a punchline. At the same time, Hibbert doesn’t shy away from portraying themes like abusive partner relationships, relationship PTSD, and domestic violence through her characters with nuance. The ‘Brown Sister Universe’ isn’t entirely made up of perfect individuals. Rather, the Brown sisters as well as their partners and their families are real and come with “baggage,” fears, and insecurities as we all do.
In her stories, Hibbert illustrates how “imperfect” people, deemed unworthy in a racist, patriarchal, classist, and ableist society, are still deserving of love. In doing so, this has made her novels such a valuable addition to the publishing world.
For me, throughout this amazing book series, I’ve gotten to reimagine realities in which Black women can be loved unconditionally. An aspect of reading these novels that will always remain special to me. Likewise, through the Brown sisters, their respective partners, and other surrounding characters, readers can look into the lives of diverse people and see aspects of themselves properly represented in romance.
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