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REVIEW: About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

About Last Night Ruthie Knox

Dear Ms. Knox:

Cute is the best word I can use to describe this book, but not cute in a saccharine, juvenile way; but in a fun, make you smile sort of way.  Mary Catherine Talarico is an assistant curator at a London museum. She’s trying to reboot her life after a decade of bad decisions leaving her emotionally and physically wrecked. She’s abandoned her home for London and her two part name for a short, chic one — Cath.

Two years without a lover, however, places her in a precarious position when CITY, as she refers to the handsome well dressed banker type who rides the train with her, proves himself to be not only handsome but also kind. Her defenses are low after a bad date night and one too many drinks.

While this is told in the third person and we do get certain POV scenes from CITY, I felt like it could have worked equally well as a first person narrative. While both Cath and Nev (CITY) were in the process of remaking themselves, I felt like Cath powered the narrative.  Perhaps part of the problem with Nev’s storyline is that it is a common one. Scion of a wealthy family, he’s being forced into a rigid lifestyle that he is trying to reject.  Either fall in line and receive the promotion at his family’s bank or turn away and be outcast from the family.  Part of falling in line requires marriage for Nev.

Nev’s family is so stereotypically bad that it mars the overall feel of the story which is, for the most part, fresh and fun.  Nev is intensely attracted to Cath and pursues her despite the barriers she tries to erect.  Cath is attempting to stick to her reformation project, with mostly good results until Nev shows up.

“How can you be nice to me when I did that?” she blurted out. “Don’t you think less of me?”

“For what?”

“For being drunk in the first place, and then for sleeping with you.”

A smile lifted one corner of his mouth. “I slept with you, too, love. Do you think less of me?”

She sighed. It was no use trying to explain it. Why she’d done it, why she shouldn’t have. Why she couldn’t do it again. Her life, and her mother, and the New Cath Reform Project. This wasn’t about morality. It was about judgment. Specifically, it was about her lack of any. But how did you tell that to someone who seemed to have complete confidence in his own?

She didn’t try. “It’s different for you,” she said. “You’re a man.”

“I was beginning to fear you hadn’t noticed.”

That made her snort. “I noticed. I can’t stop noticing. That’s my whole problem.”

Cath keeps resisting; Nev keeps pursuing and the chase is a delightful bit of courtship.  The push/pull of the relationship works out well because of the self deprecating voice of Cath. She knows herself well, but lacks the backbone to really resist when she thinks something is bad for her. This is what makes Cath so attractive both to Nev and to the reader; not her weakness but her rueful acceptance of her own downfall.  For Cath, however, she believes her downfall is inevitable which is why she keeps giving in to Nev.

Nev lacked consistency for me.  He was so confident with Cath and in the face of near constant rejection (perhaps the pattern of behavior leads to success in the end feeds his persistence); yet with his family, particularly his mother, Nev is still trying to find a way to exert himself.  I felt like you wanted Nev to be both beta and alpha and as such never was a fully realized character.

Even with the problematic characters, I enjoyed both the heat level (high) that was mixed with the sweet and romantic story.  B

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

11 Comments

  1. Janine
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:43:21

    So, which did you like better, this one or Ride with Me? I’m asking because I want to give Knox a try.

    ReplyReply

  2. Jane
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:45:36

    @Janine: I liked this one better.

    ReplyReply

  3. Sunita
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 09:57:48

    I liked the voice in the sample I just read, but I wasn’t crazy about the constant self-denigration. If I had known exactly what she was running away from, it might have worked better for me, but as I read, all I could really tell was that in her previous life she sometimes drank too much, slept with people and then regretted it, and had a large tattoo. Does Cath stop being quite so hard on herself as the novel progresses?

    ReplyReply

  4. JenM
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 11:02:44

    I just finished it and I loved it. I was completely absorbed in the story, although I agree that sometimes Nev was just too good to be true while other times he seemed to have no backbone at all. The banter between them was just so fun to read, and the love scenes were seriously hot, maybe because they did such a good job of showing the intensity of the relationship. I will also add that Cath actually does have very good reasons for being so hard on herself. Her past is quite checkered. It isn’t just a case of a few youthful indiscretions. I loved that her character had real reasons for acting the way she did. I really liked Ride With Me also and Ruthie Knox is now absolutely on my auto-buy list.

    ReplyReply

  5. Mandi
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 13:29:50

    I really liked this one. Nev was so warm and patient and I think Cath’s back story was dark enough to warrant her commitment issues. And like you said, the mix of the sensual sex scenes with the more romantic story really worked for me.

    ReplyReply

  6. The_Book_Queen
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 21:57:57

    Great review! :)

    It’s like another reader said on Twitter the other day: “I liked Ride with Me, but I LOVED Ruthie’s About Last Night!” That is exactly how I felt as well, and I look forward to whatever Ruthie offers us next!

    Enjoy!
    TBQ

    ReplyReply

  7. Maili
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 01:59:37

    “She’s abandoned her home for London” — where’s ‘home’?

    ReplyReply

  8. Janine
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 21:00:53

    @Maili: Chicago.

    ReplyReply

  9. Dabney
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 09:57:13

    I had a hard time following why she was so insistent Nev was bad for her. If she was trying to change her life for the better, he seemed like a good bet.

    ReplyReply

  10. What Janine is Reading: June 2012
    Jul 11, 2012 @ 13:01:26

    [...] now looking forward to Knox’s Ride with Me. Jane’s review of About Last Night can be found here. [...]

  11. Janine’s Best of 2012 List
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 10:01:13

    [...] Review by Jane. Contemporary romance is not my favorite genre so imagine my surprise when I found one I like better than most historicals. This sexy London set romance mixes up one London banker with artistic ambitions and one gun shy American assistant museum curator in a whirlwind romance that leaves them shaken and stirred. Okay, so enough with silly puns, Knox’s clever book deserves better than that. Cath is loveable in an angsty rebel-trying-to-be-wiser way and Nev is adorable in a gallant-and- amazing-beta-hero way. Watching them mess up is heartbreaking and seeing them make up is wonderful. [...]

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