Friday, January 29, 2010

Divas Don't Knit by Gil McNeil

5 Star

Jo MacKenzie jumps at the chance to take over her grandmother's knitting shop after her husband passes away suddenly just as she learned he'd been having an affair and was about to leave her.  Starting over in the seaside village with two small, rambunctious boys in tow, she sets about making a new life for her family, ruffling some feathers and making some close friends along the way. 

Lydia - 5 Star

I picked this novel up randomly at the book store when it didn’t have the other books on my list in stock. It appealed to me because I started knitting last year so thought I would check it out and I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Even though the subject matter could be considered slightly depressing - Jo’s husband tells her he’s had an affair and is leaving her, but is then suddenly killed in a car accident - Gil McNeil does a great job at keeping it light and having the character move on without feeling excessively sorry for herself and moping about. A task I’m sure was no easy feat.

Gil McNeil writes children impeccably and I laughed out loud frequently at their escapades. While reading the back cover about her other novels, I discovered we read one a couple of years ago (Stand by your Man) and although I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as this one, I remembered it (sometimes hard to do with all these chick lit books) and distinctly recalled the little boy in the story.
This story moves along at a quick pace and although there are no earth shattering events or revelations, it’s a wonderful story about friendship, rather than romance.

I can’t wait to read the sequel!

***FYI – Apparently this book has been re-published under a different name (much to the ire of many fans in the UK according to their reviews on the site who ordered it and then found out it was the same book) It’s re-titled (for some reason) The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club and I’m not sure if I would have picked it up based on that title and cover! The original one appealed more to me, however it’s still a great book, presuming they didn't change of the content.

Kathryn - 5 Star

I LOVED this book- would definitely read it again and am very excited to read the sequel! I don’t knit but throughout I kept thinking I should learn. I even got quite excited about shopping for different wools- colours, textures etc. We’ll see if that actually happens but I figure that the book had to be good for me to be so inspired. Have I mentioned I loved this book?

Lydia reminded me that we’d read another Gil McNeil novel a few years ago and that one of the things we both loved about it was how well she creates children in her stories. This novel has some great kids in it too. The main character, Jo, has two hilarious and rambunctious boys and they have some friends that really made me laugh! You could picture them running down the road- limbs flailing- after a crazy dog! If you can create kids that make you want to tear your hair out but are still totally loveable then you’ve got it right. She’s just as good with the older characters too. I really loved the woman who works in the wool shop, Elsie, and also Jo’s grandmother, Gran. It made me laugh at how frustrating and stubborn Elsie would be to work with. Jo herself is remarkably calm about most irritating things I would have been crying about, especially as she’s just up-rooted her life after her husband’s death. I think I should learn something from her. Patience perhaps? Either way I loved her wool shop and wished I could visit it myself!

Definitely a great read and would recommend it to anyone- even if they don’t yet knit.

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