RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

B+

Title: About Last Night
Author: Ruthie Knox
Publication Info: Random House 2012
ISBN: 9780345535160
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book About last Night This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Elissa. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Contemporary Single Title category.

The summary:     

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.  

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine—even her name turns him on—with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.  

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

And here is Elissa's review:

Fashionably late to the RITA reviews here at SBTB, I fall squarely between Jen LB and Courtney Milan's reviews of Ruthie Knox's About Last Night. (Also, Courtney has a fabulous book out this week, you'll probably want to go read it after you're done here.)

I'll start out with my disclosures (I can't help it, I'm a journalist). I superlike Ruthie Knox, and we follow each other on Twitter, so basically we're 21st-century besties. And whenever Ruthie mentions an upcoming title, I email harass my publishing contacts until someone sends it to me.

I also unabashedly love Ruthie's contemporaries. I really love the genre, but contemporary romances can be tough, because without historical strictures (I need to marry for money, you have none, you untitled bastard!) or paranormal problems (If I mate with you, Satan's Daughter-Princess, demons will take over the earth!), it's hard to keep apart people who must be all Happily Ever-ed Up by the end of the book. Yet Knox makes it work, thanks to her complicated, messy characters.

Cath, About Last Night's heroine, is one such messed-up character, and she's trying to very hard to get herself back on the straight and narrow. Readers will root for her even as you want to shake her shoulders and yell, HE'S A GOOD ONE, JUST SHAG HIM SILLY AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT!

Nev is everything you'll want in a contemporary hero, he's sexy, he's rich, he's a banker but also an artist (this is a contemporary version of the historical pirate who's really a lord, another one of my absolute favorite hero tropes).

They fall quickly into bed, but our Cath remains aloof. Nev respects her weird boundaries, and this, in particular, made me love him. He pushes her to accept him, sure, but lovingly and gently. He may not know exactly what's happened to Cath, but he knows it was probably bad, and he's patient, letting the reader realize he's just the guy for our girl, if she could only figure it out.

Nev also has a rich, snobby family, and when they pull strange manipulations to further the plot, Knox makes it work by having Nev wonder — Do they seriously think this is going to work? Do they know what year this is?

There's also Nev's mother, about whom I love everything, but then I'm a sucker for a society matriarch who knits, and I bet you'll love her snooty self too.

But then we have the grand conclusion, where Nev tries to win our girl back. And here, I must wholeheartedly agree with Jen LB, whom I have never met, nor do I follow on Twitter, but who I bet I would very much like, because she had the very same reaction I did to Nev's big reveal, which was: Wait, what? (I'm paraphrasing here, Jen LB.)

Nev's spent the past weeks respecting Cath's boundaries, patiently waiting for her to reveal herself to him, and then …

SPOILERS …

He paints her “mistakes” on giant canvases, writ large for the entire London art community to see, such that partygoers recognize and point at Cath when she shows up. It just didn't work for me. He basically exposed Cath's pretty awful past to the entire world. If she had been unrecognizable, a blank face, perhaps, or some other artistic allusion, recognizable only to herself, I would have been wholeheartedly on board. But as it was, even the smiley-ha-ha conversation they have about how he's exposed her doesn't work for me.

Nevertheless, I overall loved this book. While the ending had it faults, it still made me passionately want to type all-caps emails to my friends about it, and I basically ignored my family to read it, which is always a sign of an excellent read.


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ghengis Mom says:

    This is exactly how I would have reviewed this book. I loved the characters, but the ending was controversial. I have still reread it twice since it’s been out.

  2. 2
    Jen LB says:

    Very well put! Sounds like I’d like you too. ;)

    I have to confess I was actually a little disappointed that Knox didn’t win the RITA, which sounds weird since I gave the book such a mediocre grade. But her writing was so wonderful and her characters so unique—even though the ending didn’t work for me I still think the book is trying something awesome, and I wanted it to be recognized.

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