20 December 2011

Review: Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs

Cynics beware: this is not the book for you!

I'm embarrassed to say how long I've had this book sitting and waiting to be reviewed. Usually "chick lit" and holiday stories aren't really my thing but somehow a few days ago I came to the conclusion that that was exactly what I needed. I'm glad I did.

Knit the Season is part of the Friday Night Knitting Club series. I haven't read any of the other books in the series but it didn't seem like I needed to in order to grasp what was going on. The book follows the lives of several women (the aforementioned club members). Knit the Season, as you've probably guessed, takes place over the holidays, covering Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's. It also throws in a wedding for good measure. That's a lot of opportunity for sappiness, but while there is some of the sugary stuff, it's mostly pretty palatable.

The book primarily centers around Dakota, twenty-year-old culinary student and owner of Walker & Daughter knit shop. Like myself Dakota has recently lost her mom (it was never explicitly stated but I got the feeling it had been a couple of years for her) and on that level I really connected with the character and was comforted by reading what she was going through. Like me she even has a pile of unfinished projects left by her mom that she plans on completing. I also enjoyed Dakota's baking obsession, another aspect of her I could relate to. Dakota spends a good chunk of the book overwhelmed by trying to figure out her way as an adult. Between school, the shop she inherited, and her obligations to friends and family she's definitely headed toward burnout. But it's her friends and family in the end who teach her about setting priorities and what really matters during the holidays and in life.

Some parts of the book felt a little rushed and underdeveloped but that might be due to it being one of a series. The rushed bits may well have been covered in depth in past books. There are also the sappy moments I mentioned but I think the numerous flashbacks to Dakota's dead mom really help balance things (and luckily aren't morbid at all).

I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of knitting patterns at the end of the book, as well as a few recipes. I'll be trying out both when I get the chance. Overall this is a readable and interesting book that left me feeling positive about life. I'm a little weirded out by that, but I like it. The book even impressed me enough to get one of the earlier Friday Night Knitting Club books (I'll be keeping an eye out for the others, as well).

If you need a good read over the holidays, particularly one that reminds you why it's a time to celebrate and not just stress, I highly recommend Knit the Season. I think it would even be a good post-holiday read, extending the magic just a little and maybe even inspiring you for next year. I owe big thanks to Penguin for sending me this one to review.

Happy reading and happy holidays!

Quote: "The excuse--the expectation--to bake also played a large part in her personal delight. Crumbly, melty shortbread cookies and iced chocolate orange scones and whipped French vanilla cream cakes and sugary butter tarts: November through December was about whipping and folding and blending and sampling."

Info on buying the book here.

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