Review: Truly by Ruthie Knox

truly by ruthie knoxFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: New York, #1
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Date Released: August 5, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin?

Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.

My Review:

Truly was originally released as an e-serial last year through Wattpad, but I decided to wait for the complete book to come out. While the Wattpad readers loved it, I’m glad I waited until I could get the whole story. I love Ruthie’s work (see review of About Last Night for just how much) but I hate being teased.

Truly is definitely one of Ruthie’s trademark romances. By that, I mean that the hero, the heroine and the situation are believable, or at least identifiable-with, and that the tensions in the situation are part of real-life, and not ridiculously invented.

I hate stories where the stress break-up in the relationship is the result of a grand misunderstandammit that could have been fixed with a simple conversation. Ruthie doesn’t do that.

So, what we have is two people who meet very cute, but need to work at discovering that they are perfect for each other. Also two people who, just like most of us, need a bit of work. Not that either of them is planning to fix the other, but that each of them acknowledges individually that they have some stuff to take care of in order to be their best selves at least some of the time.

And in this particular case, they both have the realistic but difficult problem of needing to shake off the destructive messages that their parents have implanted in their brains, whether their parents intended well, or poorly, or anything at all.

Wisconsinite May Fredericks is stuck in New York City with no cell phone, no ID, and $5 to her name. Not because she’s a deadbeat, but because she finally broke up with her NFL quarterback boyfriend after he delivered the most ham-fisted marriage proposal ever, in front of a crowd on ESPN. Her entirely justified reaction went viral on YouTube. It’s not every day that you see an NFL star get stabbed in the hand with a shrimp fork.

It’s never wise to say that the reason you’re marrying someone is because they are just so plain and unexciting. He deserved that fork.

May got mugged by the paparazzi on her way out. Not just ambushed by the lights and microphones, but literally mugged by one enterprising reporter who wanted to mine her cell phone for juicy info.

Being a pretty rabid Green Bay Packers fan, May takes refuge in a Greenwich Village Packers bar, hoping that someone will take pity on her plight.

Ben Hausman is looking for redemption. Or at least a way of lowering his blood pressure and calming his ever-present anger. He decides, very much on a whim, that playing white knight to May’s obvious damsel in distress will help make him a better person.
He’s both very, very right and very wrong, sometimes within the same 5 minute interval. May makes him laugh. She also makes him re-examine the assumptions that cost him both his marriage and his restaurant career.

His intervention gives May the freedom to explore that still, small voice in her head (the one that sounds remarkably like her mother) that tells her that the real May is wilder, sexier and way more confident and capable than she has ever allowed herself to be.

The more time they spend together, the harder they fall. Until May has to go back home and face all of her benevolent demons, and everything falls apart. Including Ben. Only May isn’t willing to let him, or her new self, go. No matter how angry she has to get.

Escape Rating A+: Truly is a big story, one that was definitely worth staying up after midnight to finish.

I love May. She’s spent most of her life squeezed into the role of “good sister” and “family peacemaker”, and doesn’t really know how to get out. Her well-meaning mother has also spent May’s whole life trying to squash May into a future that she believes will be safe and secure, whether its right for May or not.

She’s also given May a metric butt-load of negative body images, because both mom and sister Allie are petite little waifs, and May is 6 feet tall and built like an Amazon. An absolutely gorgeous and sexy Amazon, but that’s not the way her mother sees her. May’s spent her whole life trying to disappear, and it’s not working.

Breaking out of her safe and boring relationship with the quarterback was the only way for May to rescue herself from a life of complete self-effacement. And she does rescue herself. Ben helps with some of the practicalities, but that option only opens because May first takes charge of her own life.

Ben is interesting because he’s not a typical romantic hero. He may be handsome, but he’s also a complete mess who doesn’t know what to do with himself or his life. He’s totally screwed up once, and is afraid he’ll do it again. He’s also so angry with himself that he inflicts that anger on everyone around him at the drop of a hat.

May takes him out of himself, and makes him view the world around him with fresh eyes. As part of that freshness, he shows her the city that he has come to love.

The other part of the story focuses on their family relationships. We see a lot of May’s family, but only a little, and very telling, glimpse of Ben’s. But they are definitely facing some of the same demons. I’ve always said that the reason it is so easy for family to push your buttons is because they’re the ones who installed them. Both Ben and May really show how that works, and so often doesn’t.

I’m gushing, so I have to stop. If you enjoy contemporary romance, you have to pick up Ruthie Knox. Truly would truly be a great place to start. Me, I’m waiting for the next book in the series, Madly. Madly counting the days, that is.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.