Act your age, Eve Brown – Talia Hibbert

Another purchase from my recent visit to the local bookstore: Act your age, Eve Brown. I have to admit, it’s something I’ve been told from time to time as well (to act my age) and I loved the book cover. It’s just spoke to me from off the shelves. It looked like a happy, light, summer read.

And that is exactly what it was. The story was a bit clichéd with the typical misunderstandings and people refusing to communicate (though not communicating also causes a lot of problems in real life, so I guess that’s fair). Opening up the book, I was also a little put off by the Author’s note which mentions childhood neglect and anti-autistic ableism. But to be honest, I didn’t notice much more of that than what I would have expected in stories like these. Are disclaimers like that now that much more necessary maybe? Because, I mean, there were no warnings to the Fifty Shades of Grey mess. And many romance stories have people with troubled pasts in them and I’ve never had a warning author’s note before. Anyway, I digress.

The heroine is a typical, quirky, I’m-so-blessed-but-also-please-feel-sorry-for-me-because-I-don’t-understand-the-way-the-world-works-girl. And when I say typical, I don’t mean typical in real life. I mean typical in these kinds of romance novels. What is different though is that she is not the typical gorgeous-but-doesn’t-know-it girl (at least that’s what they write), but she is a bit curvier than most and she is black. I found it weird that they wanted to qualify her like that. It felt like they were making excuses. Yes, she is rich and entitled. But hey, she feels less than her sisters, she feels stupider, and she is curvier than her sisters. Oh and by the way, she is neurodivergent. That part of the story bothered me a bit. I’ve read stories about lovable and eternally-screwing-up girls before, and they didn’t need a reason. They were a bit naïve or unsure, but they got there in the end through hard work and getting to know themselves better. I felt like Eve was being given excuses for her behaviour, which were unnecessary (in my opinion). Just let us know she’s a bit of a screw-up but means well and move on already!

Then we meet the hero of the story. He’s strict, adheres to routine like crazy and wants everything his way. You’ve guessed it, he’s neurodivergent as well (can’t remember if they said he’s on the autism spectrum or if it was Asperger’s?). Of course they meet and things go horribly wrong (as in: she runs away from home – woe her – and goes to apply for a job at his B&B randomly, and then runs him over with her car). She feel guilty, stays on helping him out in the B&B and proving herself to him. He is attracted to her from the start, but doesn’t want to give him because he’s a man in a romance novel but also because he’s neurodivergent. Eventually all’s well that ends well and they get their happily ever after, with Eve Brown figuring out what she wants to do with her life and finding her place in the world.

Now, I know it sounds like I didn’t like this book. But that’s not true! I really did like it. It’s a good read, it’s a decent romance novel. I had issues with some parts of the story which I felt were unnecessary but I just read through those faster to get back to the actual story that I liked. I’m sure Talia had her reasons for writing what she did, and I do believe more representation is always a good thing. I just felt it was handled a little bit awkwardly in this particular story.

If you are looking for a quirky enemies to lovers romance novel, set in a picturesque B&B in the countryside, then this is it!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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