Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Series: Brown Sisters #3
Source: Libby (My Library app)
In Act Your Age, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It's time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she's not entirely sure how…
Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.
Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.
I adored the first two books in this series: Get a Life, Chloe Brown and Take a Hint, Dani Brown. Somehow, I just didn’t expect this one to live up to the other two… and yet I believe it may be my favorite of the series!! I was still completely, pleasantly surprised and bamboozled by this affectionate and chaotic romance that snuck up behind me and gave me a cozy hug <3
In a story where there was so much to love, this is going to be hard, but here are the top six elements I adored about this story.
1 // The Music
I love love love love all the music in this one! This book is a playlist of ferocious bops and casual motivators, and I was constantly asking Alexa to play whatever song was listed at that point in the book, which lead to an interactive reading experience that was pure enjoyment.
2 // Jacob
Another fabulous main character. These two matched perfectly, so affectionate and fond with each other, at odds both gentle with the other personal and blatantly honest. Jacob was one of my favorite male characters I’ve read in a long time, utterly unique from the card-board #bookboyfriend / AlphaMale we get a lot of in romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love those guys too, but watching Jacob fall completely in love with Eve felt like a genuine intrusion of vulnerable moments and feelings. I’m reading a romance novel, literally here to intrude, but I couldn’t help myself.
He was adorable, straightforward, horrified by ducks (Herondale descendant?), consistently aggrieved by Eve’s antics, and considerate to all his guests and anticipating whatever special needs or requirements they may need covered. He also never hesitated to pay a compliment that was due, in a way that didn’t feel like flattery, but a positive, honest character assessment of appreciation. He had buckets of emotional intelligence, and he wielded it admirably.
3 // Eve Brown
I fell in love with this heroine from the first page, as she describes the differences between a journal and a diary, and why a journal is clearly the superior in comparison:
“Diaries were horribly organized and awfully prescriptive. They involved dates and plans and regular entries and the suffocating weight of commitment. Journals, on the other hand, were deliciously wild and lawless things. Once could abandon a journal for weeks, then crack it open one Saturday evening under the influence of wine and marshmallows without an ounce of guilt.”
Eve was a positive delight to spend this time with. She may be spontaneous and chaotic (in fact, Jacob referred to her as “chaos demon” for much of the first half), but she was also incredibly graceful, creative, kind, intuitive and fabulously intelligent. I appreciated her personality so much, especially towards herself. Eve knew who she was – besides the main arc and insecurity relating to that – she never apologized for who she was, and conducted herself with grace and hilarity and an innate confidence and conviction in herself. She also taught me about Shea Butter Foot Mask Socks, and mine are arriving tomorrow 😂
I also related incredibly well to the way she felt in social situations and with friends:
“[She] had always felt somewhere feverous around her, the way Eve often did around – well, humanity in general. As if she were walking a cliff’s edge between the easy, entertaining friend people kept around, and the irritating mess people kicked off the ledge,”
“…her friends never liked her quite as much as she liked them,”
“… [they] treated her as optional rather than vital.”
This is a feeling that’s familiar to me, considering the roles that we play in various social situations or what masks to swap on or off, depending on who you’re around. I always appreciate a heroine/character who can relate similarly.
4 // Autistic Representation
I am not autistic, but the author is #ActuallyAutistic, and I have to say, I really appreciated the representation in this book. Minor spoiler for the rest of this section, but in this story, we had characters who were raised with the knowledge that they were autistic, and a different adult female character who found out, over the course of the novel, that she likely was (self-diagnosis).
Both characters handled their diagnosis (such as it is) casually. The first wasn’t afraid to bring it up in regular conversations with strangers, and would haul it out as an explanation of behavior if he thought he was being judged, almost to head-off any negative thoughts from the other person. The second found peace in the acknowledgement of the label, something that made sense and described what she’d been going through. She didn’t need trips to “cope” with her diagnosis, because, after all, “she knew very well who she was and who she wasn’t, and she’d already spent a long, difficult time learning to like herself despite those differences. Having possible reason for them didn’t change much.” There’s a wide spectrum of reactions individuals have when they are served a diagnosis, especially as adults, and I appreciated this deviation from the norm that we’re served in a romance, as another possible avenue.
Also, Eve went head-to-head with someone who was making shitty jokes about Jacob (referring to him as Spock in a meeting of small businesses) and Eve handled it like a boss 👏🏻 I was taking notes on this one, as it was an excellent way to handle micro-aggressions.
5 // This book was genuinely hilarious
I giggled so hard at some many dialogue points 😂😂 The writing is incredibly posh – they are British – and would be downright, hilariously, aggrieved at several points, either when soothing themselves in the middle of chaos/banter, or engaging in it with each other.
Bloody shitting hell. He was in love with her.
How goddamn inconvenient.
Not to mention, this is a dislike-to-grudging-friends-to-lovers story, which takes place as they’re roommates at their workplace of a bed-and-breakfast. So they were together all the time, unless avoidance tactics were engaged. Watching them try to hold onto their grudges with each other was a fun ride, especially as she was literally feeding him at one point in the novel.
6 // Tropes galore… but with a distinct, unique flair
Really, it’s unsurprising this one is my favorite Brown sisters book. First of all, it takes place in a bed-and-breakfast. Dragonfly Inn, anyone?? I was THRIVING, and so were Jacob and Eve. And yes, before you have to clarify, it is a workplace romance set in a small town. But better, it was also a roommates romance, and they both stayed in Jacob’s apartment above the B&B.
I’ve talked about the dislike-to-friends-to-lovers romance, and yes, it does also include mutual pining and nearly restrained lust 💛 Ah, refreshing. Not only that, but we also have an excellent grump v. sunshine dynamic. Jacob is a refreshing grump, though, where he’s also incredibly reasonable and – for him – frustratingly susceptible to Eve’s logic. Also included is a miscommunication/misunderstanding trope… but one that actually has the characters acting reasonably to work through it, rather than running off only to get chased by the other in a grand finale that has us all groaning in cliche.
I’m limiting myself to six… but I think I’ve made it clear how fond I am of this book and these characters. They’ve stuck with me for some time, already, and I can see myself picking it up again, soon. I can’t wait to stay in their B&B again :)
Other books you may enjoy…
💛 Thanks for stopping by! 💛
Let me know in the comments down below, I’d love to hear from you!