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Big Boy

(Strangers on a Train)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  150 reviews
He'll be any man she wants--except himself.

A Strangers on a Train story

Meet me at the train museum after dark. Dress for 1957.

When Mandy joins an online dating service, she keeps her expectations low. All she wants is a distraction from the drudgery of single parenthood and full-time work. But the invitation she receives from a handsome man who won’t share his real name pr
Kindle Edition, 98 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Ruthie Knox (first published April 2nd 2013)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  757 ratings  ·  150 reviews

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Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Big Boy could refer to any number of things -






But the titular Big Boy here refers to this Big Boy.


For Mandy, a teacher at the University of Wisconsin and a single mother to a toddler, life is full of teaching and mothering. Lonely and desperate for an outlet she goes online and meets up with a man. They meet once a month at the National Railroad Museum. They dress up and role-play from different eras. She doesn't know his real name.

There are five books in this Strangers on a Train series,
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karla by: Jill and Crista

4 Chugga Chugga Choo Choo Stars!!! All aboard!! This gives a whole new meaning to 'A Night at the Museum'!

What a sweet little gem of a book! I loved the whole idea behind this read. It was different and lots of fun, but it also had a serious side, all of which was perfectly executed by Ruthie Knox.

Told from Amanda's POV, she tells us her true feelings of the life she's been thrust into, not one she would have chosen for herself, but now that she lives it, she can't imagine it being any other w
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

I . . . I am just not going to be able to pull off being at all dignified about this book. I couldn't possibly manage it and, what's more, I am not the least bit interested in trying. Because this book is so good it makes my teeth hurt. And I just wasn't expecting teeth-hurting goodness, you know? I was expecting a bit of fun, an engaging evening. It's a novella, for crying out loud! How much awesome can Ruthie Knox pack into 66 pages? Honestly. I should just
Alexis Hall
This was the first Ruthie Knox book I read. And, omg, I was kind of blissfully destroyed by it.

It has what I now recognise as Knox hallmarks:

1. A sort of crystalline quality to writing: like looking into clear water, reflecting both depth and absolute clarity. Cleanly beautiful.

2. Absolute emotional commitment to the protagonists.

This basic set up of this one is that both the hero and heroine are trapped in what you might call carer's limbo: they escape it by meeting once a month in numerous gui
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My brains has been hijacked by my libido.

Love that quote! This novella has sass and heart. It's engaging and it touches on the realities of life. I enjoyed this quite a lot and loved that ending! So good!

Jaime Arkin
Novella's are notoriously hard... it's difficult to build a 'relationship' with the characters because the story isn't very long and you don't get much history about them to even start forming an attachment.

Big Boy is an exception to that rule. In 66 pages, Ruthie had me cursing Tyler and wanting to jump into the pages to hug Mandy and tell her everything was going to be wonderful.

Mandy is a single mom to a child that isn't biologically hers. She works full time and she struggles to make ends me
Lady Heather
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: contemporary romance
Recommended to Lady Heather by: based on Paula's review :)
What an amazing little gem!!
Loved the writing!
The author did a fantastic job of creating wonderful characters, and story in so few pages!
LOVED the role-playing, and the rules no last names, and come as anyone you want, just stay in character.
Review posted at: Swept Away By Romance

~5 Amazing stars!~

I can honestly say that I’ve never read anything like Big Boy before today, and there is nothing negative in that statement! I finished Big Boy this morning and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Big Boy is part of the “Strangers on a Train” series, but the series is connected only in that the romances all occur on trains. This is a complete stand-alone novella.

Mandy is 34, but she feels so much older. She is a college professor and is
Ruthie Knox is such a fun writer! My favorite full-length book by Knox is Ride with Me. This one is shorter, a novella. It's told entirely in first person POV, from the heroine's perspective.

Big Boy is fairly entertaining, set in a city I know well -- Green Bay -- and at a train museum -- how cool is that? (It felt like something was missing, with no mention of the Green Bay Packers, just knowing that city as I do).

I liked the various scenarios, set in different boxcars, with Tyler and Mandy in
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Mandy’s life has changed quite dramatically ever since her sister and family were killed by a drunk driver. They left behind Mandy’s nine day old nephew, who she became the legal guardian for. Being a single parent and working full-time doesn’t leave much of a social life for Mandy, so she decides to join an online dating service. While looking through the men’s profiles, she kept coming across the same man with different identities from different eras in time. This man piques Mandy’s interest,
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-1-favorites, arc
4.5 stars. Big Boy is Ruthie Knox's novella found in Strangers on a Train.

What a beautiful surprise. So genuine, so gut wrenching, so real.

I simply love this novella. There are some stories that just hit you at a visceral level; the writing here is so authentic, it speaks to my soul. It is about a woman who world is turned on a dime and who is learning to adjust to/work with/manage motherhood and career. In that transition, Mandy is trying to find out where she fits in this new reality. Motherh
I want to write some really insightful and meaningful review, but I seem to be tongue-tied. (Finger-tied?) This was just a gem of a story -- it's short, but every word has a punch. It's kind of dark and rough, yet somehow manages to sparkle at the same time. It's about reality and fantasy and why we need both -- and it gives us both. Loved it.
FV Angela
Originally posted at

Trying to get away from the monotony of her everyday life after the death of her sister and taking on the care of her infant nephew, Mandy joins an online dating service. Her interest is captured by a man who seems to have multiple profiles, in each one he is dressed as a different historical figure, taking on a new persona with each change of clothes. When she receives an offer to meet with him she accepts, and this begins a meeting o
Jill Sorenson
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fiona Marsden
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay 5 stars may seem over the top for a sexy little novella, but it made me cry. This is a really special little story about two people who are very real. Which is funny because they spend all their time together pretending to be someone else.

Mandy and Tyler connect in the modern way through the internet, their monthly dates carefully planned around the local railway museum. But they don't plan on what happens to them over the passing time. The connection that grows.

I loved this little story a
How did we end up here?

So I don’t normally do short stories. I like to settle in and spend time with a story and its characters. I really want to get to know everybody and everything. I like to just move right on in and get all up in their business. The very small, short glimpse into the bigger picture (that is all that novellas tend to give), doesn’t really hold a lot of appeal for me, but I saw this one, and something inside me dared me to go for it.

Okay, book. You've got 50 pages. Go!

There wa
When Mandy joined an online dating agency she was looking for a temporary escape from her day to day life as a single mum. Her monthly dates with a handsome stranger who has never even told her his name has bought the fun back into her life, particularly when she gets to dress up and pretend to be someone else for a while as they step back in time during their role play games. At first she was happy with the lack of commitment between them but now she is starting to develop stronger feelings and ...more
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)

BIG BOY is another book in the multi-author Strangers on a Train series with Samhain. I’m a huge fan of Ruthie Knox’s contemporaries so I definitely jumped at the chance to read this short story.

Knox does something interesting in this book. As you know, all the books in this series are centered on couples meeting or falling in love on trains. Though I don’t think the train aspect was as strong in this story as it is in others, I think it definitely fits the role-playing that Knox does. Now,

My first from this author. I like the concept of Strangers on Train added by the role play and the dress up which I love so so much. For Mandy, a University teacher and a single parent to a toodler, life can be tiresome. Although she loved teaching and love her son like a real son, she needed an escape to feel carefree and enjoy her womanhood even for a day every month. She joined dating on line, got hooked by a man who have a lot of accounts with different names and dress up according to hi
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel by Ruthie Knox is always on my favorites list. This novella does not change my opinion. Short but with a lot of hot romance and characters that are strong with deep life changing secrets.

Strangers on a Train is group of romantic novellas, all based on train rides. They can be read in any order. I started with Big Boy. Mandy Sharp is a professor of American Studies at a university. She is a single Mom to Joshua, technically her nephew. Her sister's family was killed in a car crash when J
Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms
This was different! And I loved the playing the main characters had going on - until one of them didn't want to play anymore.

This and other reviews can also be found on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews.

Big Boy is a fun and very hot story about Amanda, and the very little time she has to actually go out on a date. Not at all desperate to find a special someone in her life, she does realize that she needs more than just her job and being a mother to Josh, though, and when she signs up with a dat
Big Boy by Ruthie Knox - My First Ruthie Knox I missed not having the hero's POV in this book, but it would have completely changed the revelation and direction of the romance for the reader - instead we're left to the heroine's information and position.
I did feel there was a bit too much thinking and exposition in the heroine's mind. But I get why she was that way, at the same time.
I really liked the ending, and I felt confident that even though they were just in the beginning of a real relat
Emily Elizabeth
Ruthie Knox writes another amazing story, that I couldn't get enough of in Big Boy. I highly recommend it, if you are looking for a short, heart-warming story with some angst twisted in it. Knox is fantastic, but we all already knew that, right?
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I saw this book in Ruthie Knox's newsletter and instantly knew I wanted it in my life. I loved that there was a fantasy element to this romance as Mandy went on a date each month with a time dress for and each roleplayed a character. It was a unique premise and it was done perfectly.

I've only read a couple of books by Knox so I wasn't certain what to expect with this novella but she blew me away with how easily she made me care for Mandy and her mystery man in such a short amount of ti
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
For the first two chapters, I couldn't enjoy it. I felt despair all over. It didn't help that I'm not a fan of role playing. At the beginning of chapter 3, I started to feel hope. It's a dark to light story but I didn't know it until the end. With Ruthie Knox, I'm used to raw and ugly truths about human emotions and this book is no different. This is kind of a trademark of hers and she does it well.

This is a story about two characters that suffocated in their everyday life. They need each other
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comfort-read
Really nicely done. A quick read, but worth reading. The writeup makes it sound like it's mostly erotica, but it really is much more than that -- it's about the bravery of making a connection.
Liz F
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for Sara at :D
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

You know, I never thought trains were sexy... until I started reading this "Strangers on a Train" series. Ok, let me be honest... I'm not sure I think trains are sexy. But I'll admit that some sexy stuff can happen on a train! Ok? How about that? There's about 5 books by various authors (Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell, etc) and they all take place in, on or around a train. I started with Ruthie Knox's book and it look
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this short novella in one sitting, and when I was done, I went back and read it again. First time I've ever done that. Big Boy wasn't just good in terms of storytelling and overall quality; it also hit all the right buttons and resonated with me as a reader in general and for personal reasons in particular.

Mandy is one of those heroines who inherited an orphan. She loves the toddler, but the situation isn't perfect, and it sure as hell isn't happy. Her life turned into the chaos that come
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A role-playing romp after hours at a train museum.

Talk about a fun ride! I loved this novella from start to finish. Mandy is a young professor seeking tenure who is thrown into the role of mother when her sister and her brother in law die in a car accident, leaving her the sole custodian of their 4 month old son, Josh. Juggling a demanding career and an even more demanding toddler, Mandy allows herself only one escape per month, a role-playing date with a guy she met on an internet dating site w
Eleanor (The Book Hammock)
The first Strangers on a Train I decided to read (there's no reading order). How can I not pick Big Boy to start with? It's Ruthie's. The premise is out there, so I'm going to spill my feelings throughout the read.

Many is a REAL woman. She's got everyday life struggles, she's a professional, and Academia woman, and she has a toddler.
Tyler is a caretaker of his ailing father. He's educated, he wants a good life, he wants love, and he's freaking scared.

So, I giggled:

my ass looks like two puppies
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USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were f ...more

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Strangers on a Train (5 books)
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