Review: Completely by Ruthie Knox

Review: Completely by Ruthie KnoxCompletely (New York #3) by Ruthie Knox
Formats available: ebook
Series: New York #3
Pages: 262
on September 26th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo

Everest. If they can make it there, they can make it anywhere. Maybe even New York, where Ruthie Knox takes her charming rom-com style to new heights.   Beneath her whole “classic English beauty” appearance is an indomitable spirit that has turned Rosemary Chamberlain into something of a celebrity mountain climber. But after an Everest excursion takes a deadly turn, Rosemary is rescued by her quick-thinking guide, New York native Kal Beckett. Rosemary’s brush with death brings out a primal need to celebrate life—and inspires a night of steamy sex with the rather gorgeous man who saved her.   The son of a famous female climber with a scandalous past, Kal Beckett is still trying to find himself. In the Zen state of mind where Kal spends most of his time, anything can happen—like making love to a fascinating stranger and setting off across the world with her the next morning. But as their lives collide in the whirlwind of passion that is New York City, the real adventure is clearly just beginning. . . .   Ruthie Knox’s irresistible New York novels can be read together or separately: TRULY | MADLY | COMPLETELY   “Knox writes such sultry, detailed romance. The sexual tension and the sex itself are very hot. . . . Highly recommend this story.”Smexy Books, on Truly   “An amazing journey of self-discovery with a sexy love story thrown in for good measure!”Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews, on Truly   “What Knox does so well is create these wonderful, emotionally wounded, real characters for us to relate to and root for and love.”RT Book Reviews, on Madly   “A highly entertaining, compelling, and sexy story that I really didn’t want to put down.”Harlequin Junkie, on Madly

My Review:

One of the things about series romances is that there’s a tendency, or more likely a downright desire, to make sure that everyone within the series’ orbit has found their own HEA by the end of the series. Even if it’s not with the person they began with. After all, just because a story features a second chance at love doesn’t mean that second chance has to occur with the same person the first one did.

Especially when that option has been rendered moot by an earlier book in the series, where one half of the former couple finds their HEA with somebody else.

In the case of both Friday’s book, A Snow Country Christmas, and today’s book, Completely, the last unmatched person standing is the ex of the hero of one of the earlier stories. In both cases, of course, not an evilex (™) but just the other half of a relationship that wasn’t meant to be.

About Last Night by Ruthie KnoxWe originally met Rosemary Chamberlain all the way back in About Last Night, which is one of my favorite contemporary romances of all time, and if you haven’t read it you really should. Not because you need to have read it for the New York Trilogy in general or Madly and Completely in specific to make sense, but because About Last Night is just plain awesomesauce and wonderful and every time I have to refer to it for something I get sucked right back into it again and again and again.

But way back then, Rosemary was still married to Winston (the hero of Madly) and still living in England, being, as she puts it, “wallpaper”. Rosemary felt like she sacrificed all her own dreams to become the perfect wife and perfect mother. The new post-divorce Rosemary is obviously no longer the perfect wife, which is a good thing, but her daughter Beatrice is very unhappy and overdramatic and just a general pain about Rosemary no longer being the perfect mum.

Instead, Rosemary is climbing mountains. We meet her again as she’s ascending Everest. Not figuratively, but literally. She’s part of an all-woman team that is planning to ascend the tallest mountain on each continent, starting with Everest. And then she’s going to write a book about the experience.

That’s the plan until it all, equally literally, goes smash. A deadly avalanche ends the ascent to the summit, as the Base Camps below Rosemary’s party are all in various stages of wiped out. The mountain is closed. And Rosemary finds herself alone, evacuated by helicopter to the tiny town of Lukla, home of the most dangerous airport in the world and the nearest airport to Everest.

She’s numb. She’s spent. Her adrenaline has crashed to sea level and she’s not processing the sudden end to her plans or her overwhelming grief at all the lives lost. And into the middle of her complete mental shutdown steps Kal Beckett. Kal is the son of two famous climbers, half-Sherpa, and one of the “ice doctors” on her run up the mountain. He’s also the only person who sees that Rosemary’s British stiff upper lip has finally failed her, and that she needs food and rest and human companionship to help her through the darkness that surrounds her.

What he’s not admitting to himself is that he is just as lost in the dark as she is, and that he needs those things equally badly. He brings her food, and companionship, and a desperate need to remind himself that he’s alive – a need which Rosemary turns out to be intensely enthusiastic to meet.

Their lovemaking should have been a one-night stand. Or one day and one night, considering how sleep deprived they both were. But it isn’t. Rosemary isn’t ready to pick up all of the obligations that await her. She wants to go to New York and see her daughter. Kal needs to go home to New York, but all his money and equipment have been stolen while he and Rosemary slept the sleep of the “grateful not to be dead”.

They team up. Rosemary spots Kal the plane fare home. They help each other stay grounded, and make it through the rough spots left by experiencing something terrible and profound that no one else could possibly understand.

And along the way they figure out that no matter how temporary their relationship should have been – it’s anything but. Even though it makes no sense at all. Love and sense obviously have nothing to do with each other. At least not for them.

Escape Rating A-: I’ve loved everything that Ruthie Knox has written, and Completely is no exception.

The story in Completely, while it focuses on Rosemary and Kal, is also a very nice wrap up for the entire New York Trilogy. And it adds a nice little fillip to About Last Night as well, as Completely ends with the wedding of the couple from About Last Night. It was great to see Cath and Nev again, and to know that they’ve firmly cemented their HEA.

And even though this is Rosemary’s story, it also ties in nicely with Madly. Not just because Rosemary is Winston’s ex, either.

Rosemary can’t face going back to the climbing group. Not out of fear, or any of the other reasons that might stop someone from returning to something so incredibly dangerous. Instead, it’s because she’s finally letting herself acknowledge that while climbing mountains may have been a dream of her younger self that she gave up to become that perfect wife and mum, she has changed and the dreams she dreamed at 20 are not the same dreams that move her now.

She still wants to write, but the stories that she wants to write are women’s stories. Not women’s fiction, or fiction of any kind. What moves her now are women’s voices, and the true stories that have been left untold because they happened to women. All the ways that the world is different from the perspective of a female body and all the stories that have been suppressed because the teller is a woman and not a man.

And she wants to start with Kal’s mother Yangchen Beckett, the only woman to summit Mount Everest seven times. A woman who was only able to summit Mount Everest at all after she divorced and possibly murdered her violent, abusive ex-husband.

It’s a story that even Kal doesn’t know – and isn’t quite he’s ready to find out. But Yangchen is ready to tell it, and ready to manipulate her son and this surprising woman that he has come to love in order to both get her story out into the world and to finally help her son find the elusive happiness that he deserves – but can’t make himself reach for.

Most of Ruthie Knox’s stories feel very real, featuring people who seem like they could live next door or across the street. And the tensions that keep her romantic couples apart before they figure out how to be together also feels real. Life happens. Stuff happens. People don’t always deal well with the stuff that happens to them. And they screw up the best things in their lives trying not to deal with their own shit.

So even though Rosemary and Kal meet in a situation that is far from ordinary, the issues and problems between them still feel real, as does the love they have unexpectedly found with each other. And it’s marvelous.

I don’t know where Ruthie Knox is going next, or what terrific new stories she’s planning to tell. But I know that I plan to be there whenever she tells them.