I chose this book for its topic matter, as research has revealed the older woman-younger man scenario to be more common than is generally known. I wanted to see how Ms Harlem and her characters handled that subject, in addition to the pitfalls of online dating. I love how Kay is in some ways old-fashioned in her reverence and respect for her late husband, tragically taken from her in a car accident some years earlier. It does take time to let go of the past and accept the idea of a new partner. On the flipside, she indulges in some pretty naughty talk with her unknown new love, indicating she is neither a prude nor inexperienced in sexual matters. Having been ‘off the market’ for a long time, it’s understandable that she’s a bit naïve and easily swept away by Sullivan’s intense sexual attention and takes him at his word.
Both characters are believable, as younger men do seek out older women for their stability, calmness and no-nonsense manner. While we get detailed descriptions of Sullivan’s appearance, we don’t know the color of Kay’s hair or her eyes. It occurs to me when beginning this review that she does not even have a last name! I would expect the characterization of the heroine to go quite a bit deeper than that.
Told in Kay’s point-of-view, her descriptions of how her body feels and what she experiences with Sullivan ring true however, and cause a blush or two on the part of the reader. (Although if "a shiver of desire" was going to run through her one more time I was considering a yawn). Her reluctance and even anger with him at the beginning of the story is plausible; traveling a long distance toward what she thought would be a new beginning, only to discover a ‘boy’ with whom a long-term relationship would be doomed to failure, might indeed be frustrating and even embarrassing. But it does seem to be the only conflict in the story, and after taking up more than half of the book, the theme gets tiresome. If he were unattractive that would be cause for upset. But of course, Sullivan is gorgeous….so for heaven’s sake sister, just go with it already!
Overall, ‘Toy Boy’ is a lighthearted and enjoyable read. The descriptions of scenery, color, flavor and fragrance are vivid and satisfying. If anyone needs further proof that ‘life is short’ and you should take the good things it offers you, read ‘Toy Boy’!!