Big Boy by Ruthie Knox

I’m always up for good contemporary romance and I get excited whenever a friend highly recommends something that falls under that genre. So it’s no surprise that when Angie does a bibliocrack review, I sit up and listen. And I end up getting a copy of the book in question right after I finish reading what she has to say about it. I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for good romance. I was looking forward to reading Big Boy by Ruthie Knox, especially since I found both the cover and premise intriguing.

recommended by Angie

Stamp created by fellow YAcker Laura

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Big BoyWhen Mandy joins an online dating service, she keeps her expectations low. All she wants is a distraction from the drudgery of single parenthood and full-time work. But the invitation she receives from a handsome man who won’t share his real name promises an adventure — and a chance to pretend she’s someone else for a few hours.

She doesn’t want romance to complicate her life, but Mandy’s monthly role-playing dates with her stranger on a train — each to a different time period—become the erotic escape she desperately needs. And a soul connection she never expected.

Yet when she tries to draw her lover out of the shadows, Mandy has a fight on her hands… to convince him there’s a place for their fantasy love in the light of day.

Big Boy was my first introduction to Ruthie Knox’s writing. I liked it so much that I immediately picked up her other novels right after finishing this one. I’ve read all of her books and I have to say that Big Boy is still the one I like best. I found myself surprised at the emotional depth present in such a short piece of work. I cared for Mandy right away. She felt like a realistic character with genuine problems. Although I haven’t had a similar experience to what she’s going through, I understood how difficult it is to adjust her life when motherhood is suddenly thrust upon her. She doesn’t even have time to grieve for her sister, she had to get her act together to take care of her baby nephew while balancing her workload. No wonder she feels the need to take a break and unwind, which she does on her monthly dates with a guy who won’t even reveal his real name.

“His weirdness was what appealed to me. I felt so unfocused so much of the time in those days – like I wasn’t myself anymore, but I wasn’t a new person either. I was a blob with feet.

This guy knew something I didn’t. He knew how to change identities nimbly, with a gleam in his eyes that said I’m having more fun that you are.

I loved how unusual their dates are. They meet in one of the trains in the train museum and they have to act as characters in a certain time period. Let’s say 1957 – both of them would show up dressed in historically accurate attire (and being history nerds, they take pains to do this) and come up with a back-story for their character for the duration of that date. The background they come up with doesn’t matter just as long as they stay in character. Doesn’t that sound so interesting? It definitely kept me reading. At the same time, it made me wonder how things will work out between them when they’re being less than truthful with each other. Well, you just have to read Big Boy to find out. I really liked the setting of their dates as well, such a creative venue for their role-playing. It made me realize that even though I used the MRT everyday, I don’t really know much about historical trains. If there was a train museum anywhere near where I am now, I’d go and check it out. I’m now a Ruthie Knox fan and will always be willing to read anything that she publishes, I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’d get to review them as well. Big Boy is definitely a title that any contemporary romance fan should check out.

Other reviews:
Angieville
Bitching, Books and Baking
The Allure of Books

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11 thoughts on “Big Boy by Ruthie Knox

  1. I agree with you on the train station. And the costumes. A unique idea for sure. Now that I’ve read more by Ruthie Knox, this isn’t my favorite but I enjoyed it, especially the parts about Mandy and how difficult motherhood is.

    • I could feel how much you loved this one based on your review, Angie. Which was why I grabbed a copy right after seeing your recommendation. Have you read Making It Last? I requested it on NetGalley. I remember you said How to Misbehave is your second favorite Ruthie Knox.

      • I did finish Making It Last the other night, and I have to hand it to Ruthie again for just another incredibly well-done novella. I don’t know how she channels into my emotions so well, but she does and it’s such a pleasure.

      • I started Making It Last yesterday and I’ll probably finish it tonight. I think it’s great that she went back to Amber and Tony’s story several years after they first met. It reminds me a bit of Laura Florand’s Turning Up the Heat because both novellas are about how difficult it is to make marriages work even though the love is still there.

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