Sometimes, we read to learn, and sometimes, we read to critically reflect. Most often, I tend to read for those two reasons. But there are some books I read which remind me that reading is really fun and Talia Hibbert’s Act Your Age, Eve Brown does that for me.
Perhaps you’ve witnessed the internet explosion over the Brown sisters’ trilogy–or perhaps you haven’t! But in the past year, readers all over the world have been raving about the sensational adult romances written by the New York Times bestselling author Talia Hibbert. Hibbert has been writing steamy romances for years, but she hooked us with her latest series, the Brown sisters! In her latest release Act Your Age, Eve Brown, she’s done it again.
A Brief History of the Brown Sisters
Act Your Age, Eve Brown is the third book in the Brown sisters trilogy. While the reading order of their books is not incredibly important–because each book largely focuses on one sister, and thus any pertinent information is included in the book either through context or outright explanation–the books do build off of each other and characters from the previous book(s) do appear, if only in passing. For example, Chloe’s love interest appears in the next two books, and Dani’s love interest appears in Eve’s book.
For the most comprehensive understanding of this trilogy, read the books in their proper order:
- Get a Life, Chloe Brown
- Take a Hint, Dani Brown
- Act Your Age, Eve Brown
The books also go in order of oldest to youngest sister; Chloe is the oldest, and Eve is the youngest. The three of them are independent Black British women from an affluent family–including their hardworking parents and upscale grandmother Gigi.
Should I read the physical or audiobook?
In addition to reading these three books in their cute matching print editions, you may also listen to them via audiobook. Adjoa Andoh is the voice narrator for Get a Life, Chloe Brown and has an older posh British woman’s voice, whereas Ione Butler narrates both Take a Hint, Dani Brown and Act Your Age, Eve Brown. Butler’s voice sounds a bit younger than Andoh’s and is generally more liked among listeners. Typically, each audiobook in the series is about 10-11 hours long.
In my own experience, I listened to Chloe and Dani’s books on audiobook, and I read a physical copy for Eve’s book, and I honestly can’t decide which experience I enjoyed better–which is a good thing! I suppose I enjoyed physically reading Eve Brown because I was able to read as fast as I wanted, whereas sometimes listening to an audiobook can make me feel impatient to hear more. But honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong either way! The voice narrators do an amazing job and really bring the material to life, while reading the books physically can feel very intimate and fun.
How steamy are we talking?
Talia Hibbert’s books are steamy. They are sexually charged, detailed as hell, and graphically erotic. There’s no “fade to black” right after the main characters kiss–we’re right there with them as they explore each other’s bodies.
But as far as erotica goes, Hibbert’s books are tasteful. The characters genuinely want to please each other, and consent is always expressed in a healthy and explicit way. So while readers love the Brown sisters’ books for their emotional intimacy and personal accountability, we also love them for the safe and loving portrayals of some very raunchy foreplay.
Reader discretion advised!
An Overview of Act Your Age, Eve Brown
Recently published in February, Act Your Age Eve Brown follows youngest sister Eve, who is twenty-six and admittedly has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She’s tried (and failed) at many things, most recently event planning, which did not go as well as she’d have liked. Thus, her parents–tired of her flippant ways–are imploring her to act her age. They are cutting her off and forcing her to get a job instead of freeloading around their house.
Of course, Eve is just as upset as they are–after all, she doesn’t want to be a total failure, that’s just how it all sort of happened. So when she goes on a long drive through the country and finds her way into a quaint little town with a bed & breakfast advertising a chef position, Eve thinks, Why not? I could be a chef.
However, B&B owner Jacob Wayne, a handsome autistic entrepreneur, is not quite charmed by Eve’s casual yet bold arrival. That is, until she accidentally hits Jacob with her car, thus necessitating him to rely on her for cooking assistance, and forcing the two of them to spend more time together than they wanted.
This dislike-to-love romance has all the quaint, cottage-core vibes you’ll love, including a moonlit night by the pond, the charm of a misunderstood love interest, and breakfast food you love to read about. Moreover, Hibbert included an accompanying playlist to set the mood for the book, and as always, the ever-considerate Hibbert also offered a page of content warning in the beginning for anti-autistic ableist speech, all with the caveat that joy triumphs in the end.
Why I Love Eve Brown
There are several reasons to love Eve Brown.
Like all the Brown sisters’ books, the banter is incredible. I love when characters really play off each other rather than occupying separate pockets of make believe existence, and the way these two lovers connect is electric.
Hibbert’s romances are a safe place for our most romantic fantasies. Whereas sometimes adult romance books read more like accounts of creepy stalkers sexually harassing love interests, Hibbert’s romances are respectful, consensual, self-aware, and considerate. When the characters fight, both sides take responsibility over their words and actions. When the characters are challenged to grow, it’s not for the wrong reasons of pleasing others but discovering one’s own truth and full potential. When the characters physically connect–well, you know how that goes.
Moreover, Eve is incredibly human. A protagonist who doesn’t know what she wants to do in life despite having a multitude of interests? Holy relatable! But while Eve isn’t perfect and troubled by these daunting life choices, the book never feels grim or heavy–merely, honest. Sure, there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect and to plan all our choices, but we only have to take things one step at a time, and it’s okay if we make a mistake.
Even though the ending is incredibly cheesy–typical of the romance genre, yet not entirely unwelcome–the book still works so well. Because what is “cheesiness” if not happiness preserving? We want to see these characters end up together, we want their lives to be lovely and full of laughter, and so serving them their cheesy ending is merely romantic justice. Let them eat cake! Or eggs, in this case.
When we open up a Talia Hibbert book, we know we will see hints of our lived experiences, see the shades and tints of this honest world in which so many complications exist, yet we know that in the end, the solace that genuinely good people will find each other and take care of one another, protecting their joy and celebrating their love, will triumph, and we as readers feel better for that. And that’s all there is to it.
For more book reviews from Slanted Spines, check out this page.