Published by BERKLEY on November 17, 2020
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Fiction
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
With a name like The Boy Toy, I went into Nicola Marsh’s new novel expecting a sexy romance featuring a woman with a young lover. While I’m excited to report that the romance is, in fact, steamy and yes the story does feature a relationship between an older woman and a younger man, The Boy Toy is so much more than just a sexy read. And it’s that “so much more” that really made this read such a winner for me.
The Boy Toy follows Samira, an Indian-American physical therapist, and Rory, a gorgeous stunt man who lives in Melbourne, Australia, Samira’s hometown. The two of them have a chance encounter while Samira has returned to her hometown for a brief visit to help her cousin with her new business. Sparks fly from the moment they meet, but all either Rory or Samira are really looking for is a one-night stand. After a night of sizzling sex, however, it becomes all too clear that a one-night stand simply isn’t enough. Both are hesitant when it comes to relationships though. Samira is still reeling from the fall-out of a short-lived arranged marriage to an Indian man who ended up cheating on her, while Rory feels vulnerable because he has been battling a life-long stutter that often leaves him feeling like a disappointment to those around him, particularly his father. In reading the author’s note, I learned that she too has a stutter and so she has done a wonderful job authentically capturing how having a stutter can impact your life.
I really loved Samira and Rory together so much. They have so much chemistry and I just loved the way they played off each other. I was immediately rooting for them to have a happy ending, particularly as soon as Samira’s mother and aunties started in all over again with their determination to find Samira a suitable husband, and by suitable, they mean Indian, which Rory is not. I loved the strength Samira displays throughout the story as she stands her ground and firmly tells them she will chose for herself this time. That’s not to say they listen, but she makes herself very clear time and time again. I also adored Rory. He’s such a sweetheart and I was an especially big fan of the scenes where he visits the center where he got help for his stutter as a kid. There are a couple of scenes between him and a little boy with a stutter that will just melt your heart. I also loved that he wanted to give back to this center because it had given him so much.
In addition to cheering on Rory and Samira as they navigate the terrain of a multi-cultural relationship, I also loved the family interactions in the book and all the secondary characters that we meet along the way. Samira’s close relationship with her cousin Pia was one of my favorites in the book, and I also adored Samra’s mother, Kushi, even when she was being pushy about Samira’s love life. And don’t even get me started on Kushi’s cooking skills. The descriptions of Indian food sprinkled throughout her scenes had me so hungry the entire time I was reading! Samira’s aunties were not quite as delightful and loveable as Kushi, but they still added a nice dramatic element to the story. Rory brings his fair share of family drama to the table as well in the form of a very strained relationship with his father. Family friend, Manish, who is Kushi’s choice to be Samira’s next husband, is also a great character. I really enjoyed his friendship with Samira. The scenes with family provide some lovely heartfelt moments as well as some more dramatic moments to balance with the steamy scenes between Samira and Rory.
If you’re looking for a fun and sexy read that features an older woman and a younger man, the challenges of a multi-cultural relationship, and also a fair share of family drama, look no further than The Boy Toy. It’s sure to please!