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The Boy Toy Paperback – November 17, 2020
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"Fun and sexy with just the right dash of family drama."—PopSugar
"This tale of a one-night stand that becomes something more finds surprising depth and manages to spin an often-clumsy subject into gold."—Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
- Publisher : Berkley (November 17, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 059319862X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593198629
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.51 x 1.07 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #444,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Samira Broderick used her successful practice in LA to avoid her meddling Indian mother; her arranged marriage had fallen apart as soon as life had been difficult, and her mother arranged it. Returning to Australia for business allows the two to rekindle their relationship, and Samira decides that a fling might also help her get out of her funk. At the same time, Rory Radcliffe avoided letting others know about his stutter by taking stunt roles. With an upcoming reality show host job coming up, he needs a dialect coach, who is none other than the older Samira, his one night stand.
We start off meeting Samira’s mother Kushi, who is so much like the South Asian aunties I had seen in my neighborhood growing up. She cooks a lot of spicy, fragrant foods and is convinced that marriage and children is the way to happiness. After the prior betrayal, Samira has the “love is for schmucks” attitude. But this is a romance, so we know she’ll find the one to make her feel comfortable in her own skin and truly forget the way her ex had put her down and betrayed her. The push for that comes in the form of her cousin Pia, who is a wonderful and funny woman I loved reading. It’s heartbreaking that both Samira and Pia have difficulty getting pregnant when they want to be mothers not just to meet cultural norms, but because they genuinely enjoy caretaking.
There are cultural issues here, as Samira is half Indian and half American, growing up in Australia. She had felt ostracized by some of the aunties, and her mother had hoped marrying an Indian man would avoid further issues in the community. It hadn’t, but it explains why she wouldn’t reveal the dates with Rory right away. For his part, Rory is a great guy that feels bad about himself because of the stuttering, which had led to significant bullying from peers and even his father. He’s always self-conscious, and some of that extends to the relationship with Samira. The ten year age gap comes up, even though it’s not something he is overly concerned about.
There are multiple issues getting in the way of the relationship, such as culture, career, and the family problems that they deal with. All of these are serious issues to contend with, and are treated respectfully and honestly. Samira is troubled by the rapid changes in her life, and how little she can control them. Rory grows up a lot as well, and realizes what is most important to him. Thankfully for the reader, we get our happily ever after.
It's one of the reasons, after her failed marriage twelve years prior, that Samira left Australia for LA to start her own physical therapy practice. Samira has grown used to living her life on her own terms, her own timeline. But she has agreed to help her cousin, Pia, with her startup clinic. So Samira is back for six months and already dreading the confrontation with her mother that she knows is coming.
Pia suggests a casual fling will ease her stress. Samira is fully against it, until she meets Rory.
Rory has been working as a stuntman as a way to make money, but also as a way to keep from having to reveal his stutter. It's something he's had to work around his entire life, and also something that holds an immense amount of shame for him. But when the opportunity to audition as the host of a new reality show is given to him, he's nervous that someone will finally catch on about his stutter, but he could also use the money to help others that are dealing with the same thing. The night he meets Samira he's just trying to work off the nerves he's built up over his audition.
Neither Samira or Rory are thinking of starting anything serious. But they'll both learn that sometimes the best things aren't the things you plan.
I'll admit I was initially drawn into this story about an older woman and a younger love interest. I thought that would be the main focus of the book. I wasn't prepared for everything else that Nicola Marsh throws into the story, but it was a lovely surprise. There's a lot packed in here, but I think that Nicola Marsh handles everything really well. It doesn't feel too packed. I think of it along the lines of, people do not just deal with one thing at a time, we're multi-taskers if nothing else, contending with different things from all aspects of our lives. Sometimes those aspects intersect as is the case with Samira's relationship status being connected with her failed marriage which crosses with her overall relationship with her mother and the connections to what is traditional in the Indian community.
And sometimes are issues run parallel with each other such as with Rory's lifelong struggle with his stutter, but also the fact that he doesn't have a great relationship with his father since his mother left them when Rory was really young. The point being, we're always dealing with something, even the small things. It's part of what makes us who we are, part of what informs our lives.
I really liked the comparison between Rory and Samira's different (yet very similar) relationships with their parents. Both have single parents, both have trouble communicating with that parent. This was a very singular journey for each of the characters. I loved when they separately cleared the air with their respective parent, when they saw things from the other perspective.
If anything I thought there could have been just a bit more focus placed on Rory and Samira together. I felt like it was more of an individual journey they each had to complete in order to come together, which was great, but didn't leave as much time to focus on what makes their relationship click.
Although maybe that, in itself, is the answer, non-answer. When someone's right for you they're just right. There's very little explanation needed.
Overall, an impressive read that shines the light on many topics. I know there will be another book featuring a secondary character (as told to us in the sneak peek at the end), there are definitely a couple of characters that a I feel deserve their own HEA so I hope Nicola Marsh gets around to everyone in due time.