Eve is the youngest and flightiest of the Brown sisters. She didn’t really make much of an impression on me in her sisters’ books other than she was present when they needed her. That’s a really good characteristic, being there when needed. At the beginning of Act Your Age, Eve Brown, Eve is updating her journal explaining why she has shuttered her wedding planning business after one successful (except for one disaster) wedding. She is determined to put the incident behind her and move on to the next thing when her parents harsh her mood by insisting it’s time she act like an adult. She is cut off from her trust money until she can hold down a job for a year. Her parents offer her a choice of employment in either of their offices, but Eve insists she can make her own way and find here own job. She leaves in a huff, jumps in her car and drives away.
In the space of a few short hours, she walks into a job interview at an B & B, horrifies the owner with her lack of preparation, and hits him with her car. Jacob Wayne has sunk everything into his B&B. On top of the disaster of losing his chef, a woman he definitely does not want to hire, but might have to out of desperation, breaks his arm with her car. With that inauspicious beginning, Eve and Jacob learn to work together. Jacob is clear about his standards and expectations and Eve is a good chef and good with people. Eve is sunshine, but not as chaotic as Jacob expects her to be. Jacob is a starchy grump, but not as unreasonable or uncaring as Eve expects. Because Eve takes Jacob seriously and Jacob cares more that Eve tries than that she succeeds, they can relax around each other.
Talia Hibbert builds her characters from the inside out, so that there are layers of reasons why they are the way they are. Their quirks are not oddities and their defenses were built for good reason. Hibbert has been recommended in the past for excellent autism representation. She doesn’t give her characters sets of behaviors, she gives them rich personalities. As far as I know, I am not on the autism spectrum, but my squirrel brain and chronic depression and anxiety have made me feel too much for people at times. The way Jacob and Eve see and accept each other made me tear up more than once. And because Hibbert writes complex characters, love does not cure them of their mental illness or neuro-divergence. Love gives them support and community to be exactly who they are.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a slow burn romance with excellent pining, some beautiful friendship moments, a spectacularly hot scene where a tightly wound man comes undone, and a third act break up that reaffirms that we can all royally screw up and be forgiven.
I received Act Your Age, Eve Brown as an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.