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Brie's Corner

Supervillain book reviewer. Lover of secret pains and purple proses. I review over at Romance Around the Corner.

About Last Night: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance

About Last Night - Ruthie Knox Originally posted at Romance Around the CornerGiven the amount of Contemporary Romance I review, it’s quite obvious that I’m partial to it. But in a genre that can get quite repetitive, finding great new authors can be difficult. When I read Ms. Knox’s debut novel, Ride with Me, I was over the moon because is not often that I read a book so compelling. After having read About Last Night, I’m happy to tell that Ride with Me wasn’t a one-hit wonder, and that Ms. Knox is a truly wonderful author.Mary Catherine Talarico is a wild child in the process of reforming herself. In order to do so, she has removed herself from everything and everyone. She moved to London, doesn’t really have friends, she works, she works and she works. Basically she wants to be a dull girl and things that all work and no play will help her achieve that goal. “Cath didn’t have any friends. She had a roommate who didn’t like her, a socially awkward boss who did, and an empty life that revolved around her job.”Because her life is quite detached, she has become a master people watcher. She can predict who will be at the train station and what they’ll do once they arrive. Her favorite person to observe is a serious, suit-wearing hunk, whom she calls City. One day, she gets drunk and City takes her to his house. He’s a perfect gentleman but when she recovers they give in to temptation and have sex. It turns out that Cath isn’t as reformed as she thought, and City isn’t as stuffy as his suit makes it seem.City’s real name is Neville (yes, Ms. Knox is so good that she can make someone named Neville sexy). He isn’t happy with his life. Forced to work at his family’s bank, what he really wants to do is paint. So Cath and Nev are two repressed individuals full of passion that when convined make sparks fly. But sex isn’t everything they have in common, and it isn’t what they are really looking for in each other. He can see that Cath is broken, but he doesn’t care. He’s willing to wait until she’s ready to open up to him and he won’t try to fix her in the meantime. But Cath has a lot of self-hatred working against her and she will have to learn how to deal with it in order to have a healthy relationship.This is a character driven story and the conflict comes from within the characters. Cath has to learn how to love and forgive herself, and Nev has to stop being so passive and take action. It has angst, strong emotions and sex. They look and act so different from each other that it’s almost an opposites-attract story, yet they weren’t that different. They both were unhappy with their current lives, but he wasn’t doing anything to fix it, and she was trying but failing. Cath is the main character and the book revolves around her. It’s her journey and her story. Fortunately for us, she’s a likeable heroine. I saw her as someone with a lot of guilt, hurt and self-loath, who wanted to get better but didn’t know how. She was very young and in a way immature. I’m not a fan of heroines getting better thanks to the healing powers of the hero’s mighty peen, but in her particular case it works because Nev helps her see herself under a different, more positive light, something she never would’ve accomplished by herself. When the book ends she’s still a work in progress, there’s no miraculous cure for such deep psychological wounds, but she’s on the right path.I must say that Nev read older than he truly was. I was surprised when he tells his age because judging by his behavior and personality I thought he was way older than that. But then, closer to the end, he behaves like a young, immature man. Until that point he was very understanding and almost perfect. Or so it seemed, because if you look closer, he was drifting and unhappy about his life, but either unable or unwilling to do something about it. I found him confusing and contradictory. How can someone so sure of himself when faced with a complex woman like Cath, so understanding and patient, be so passive and insecure with his own family and in his personal life? He wanted to be a painter, not a banker, then why not go and do it? This inconsistency and the actions that lead to the confrontation at the end of the book, were the weakest links in what otherwise was a truly wonderful romance.Needless to say, I absolutely recommend this book and everything Ms. Knox writes. She is one of my new favorite authors and I want everyone to read her books.A slightly very long note: I didn’t get a finished copy, so I don’t know for sure, but it says that the book contains snippets from other titles, so it probably ends around the 90% mark. I say this because knowing how much book is left is part of the reading experience (you know the bad guy isn’t the real bad guy when they catch him and there’s still 25% of the book left, right?) and I hate it when the book suddenly end and the rest is promo content. So either check if there’s extra content at the end, or keep in mind that the book may be shorter than it seems.Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.