I bring this up because Kate Jacobs' Knit the Season is all about knitting and how the shared love of knitting ties together the lives of a group of women - sort of. Unfortunately, the manner in which Jacobs chooses to demonstrate this is by dropping in references to knitting at every opportunity - these women literally do not let any event in their lives go by without knitting something for the occasion, to the point where I envision them all as a well-heeled group of Madame Defarges.
A brief list of some of items knitted during the course of this book:
- a sweater
- a necklace
- christmas ornaments, including a holiday garland and the halo for the angel on top of a tree
- socks and slippers
- a wrap worn to a wedding
This would probably be a good time to mention that some spoilers follow, for both this book and its predecessor The Friday Night Knitting Club.
The general outline of the book is that the characters are getting ready for the wedding of one of the women. That wedding becomes a double wedding, and at the same time, Dakota, daughter of Georgia, the heroine of the first book, has to decide between her career (accepting an internship over the holidays) and family (visiting her elderly grandmother in Scotland for Christmas). Previously, she'd had to decide between her love (cooking) and continuing her mother's work (the knitting store), and happily hit on the idea of a knitting cafe, neatly resolving the issue without any hard decisions on her part. Similarly, Dakota struggles between family and career, but as it turns out, the internship hiring manager is dating her father, and allows her to put off the internship until after the family gathering.
It's kind of like Happy Days, where everything is neatly resolved at the end of 23 minutes (plus commercials), only it takes a lot longer, I laughed less, and someone knits Fonzie a motorcycle cover.
The book contains a lot of flashbacks to Georgia's life, and I found myself enjoying those sections the most - she was the most likeable and interesting character of the first book, too. I couldn't help thinking how Kate Jacobs must be kicking herself now for killing Georgia off in FNKC. Even the flashback sections had an odd quality about them - sometimes I wasn't sure why they were included, as they didn't seem to relate to the story at hand. That didn't bother me as much as my confusion about who exactly was narrating those sections - they weren't really flashbacks since some of them were clearly Georgia's perspective, including her private thoughts and feelings about events. But since they were presented as reminiscences, rather than, say, diary entries, I couldn't figure out how that could be.
I suppose if you can get past the too-perfect characters, the improbable plot points, the cloying saccharine sweetness, and the incessant clicking of the knit-dropping, you might enjoy this book.
As for me, I'm ticking off book 22 with a sense of relief and moving on to, well, name-dropping. I had a whole bunch of holiday books I was going to read, but Dominick Dunne's final book came out and as I was placing my last minute Amazon order, there it was, just begging to be added to my cart. I couldn't say no ... after all, tomorrow is Christmas.