Reviewed by L.D.Y
Trade, 324 pages, 2009
Reason for Reading: I picked up the first book of this series, Friday Night Knitting Club, about a year ago (reading and knitting are two of my favourite things). I wasn’t having much success with knitting while reading (yes, I’ve tried), so decided reading a novel that revolves around knitting was the best way to combine two things I adore. I’m back for the third book in the series because I just fell in love with the characters.
Synopsis: We first meet the characters of Knit the Season in Friday Night Knitting Club, where a group of women come together to discuss knitting tips, and – more importantly – share their joys (and defeats) in life. Now young Dakota Walker is in college, still surrounded by the knitting club women that have become like her family. Amidst the upcoming holiday season (which includes a wedding), Dakota starts trying to finish knitting a sweater that her mother started before Dakota was even born. As she works the stitches, everyone around her is compelled to tell stories that Dakota has never heard about her family before, giving her a new perspective on the life and career she is trying to design.
Why you should read this book: Jacobs does a brilliant job making her characters all seem real and likable – through all their flaws and mistakes, you feel like you know these women and would be happy to sit down at Thanksgiving dinner with them. Knitting may conjure up cozy images for a lot of people, but this bunch of knitters is full of life and staring down a lot of problems and changes: new loves, new career paths, children, the possibility of moving. The characters all clearly love each other, but recognize life may take them in different directions, whether because of a romance in Italy, a lucrative career in Paris, or just all the changes that the bustle of New York City brings to young Dakota and to her father, who is looking for a second chance while fighting old memories. The age range of the women in the story (around 20 all the way up to someone in her 90s) allows for a great range of perspectives – and acts as a reminder that the moment when we think we’ve got life fully figured out is the moment that it’s sure to change. This book is a perfect holiday read, full of heartwarming and heartfelt musings (have tissues handy) that don’t sink into forced sentimentality. It is great to watch these strong-but-flawed women grow and change throughout the series. In addition to a great story, Knit the Season is stuffed with other goodies: holiday recipes, knitting patterns (I’m terrifically tempted to start ‘Georgia’s Holiday Garland’), and a readers’ guide that would fit in very well at both a book club and a knitting club. Check off your holiday gift-giving list – any knitter would be happy to get this one, as would anyone who loves great characters.
Why you should avoid this book: You don’t need to be a big knitter to enjoy Knit the Season or the other books in the series, though of course it helps (or hey, it might just inspire you to pick up a pair of knitting needles and give it a try). The main focus is on the characters and all of their relationships, with knitting tidbits scattered about in a way to set the yarnistas dreaming of cloud-soft wool and brightly coloured cotton. You’ll want to pick up Friday Night Knitting Club before Knit the Season, though, because much of the emotional impact comes from meeting the characters in that book and seeing what they’re struggling with over the holiday season.
New York seemed to be a city made for celebrations, and Dakota Walker loved every moment of the holidays: from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds breathlessly waiting for the lighting of the gigantic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, to the winter-themed department store windows displaying postmodern Santas, to – her favorite – the kick-off to a month of fun with that ruckus of a parade on Thanksgiving morning.
‘Guess what?’ she said, trying to act lighter. ‘I have lucked out: The chef at Rome’s V hotel hooked me up with a spot in the kitchen here in New York over the holidays.’
‘Not for Christmas, though,’ said Catherine.
‘Yeah, for Christmas,’ scoffed Dakota. ‘That’s a huge chance, to get in there. I don’t march over with my schedule and see if I can fit them in. It’s the other way around.’
Bess reached out an arm to stop Dakota from knitting.
‘All my life I held back, thinking it was safer that way,’ said Beth. ‘But let me tell you, holding people at arm”s length doesn’t make you love them any less, and it doesn’t make it any easier when something happens. It just means you miss out on the chance to get to know them. You remember that, Dakota. It’s always easier to keep to yourself, but it’s not always for the better.’
Also recommended: Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy; The Island by Elin Hilderbrand; Nora Jane by Ellen Gilchrist.
Also by this author: Friday Night Knitting Club; Knit Two; Comfort Food.
Author’s website: katejacobs.com
Fun tidbit: Be sure to check out Book Brothel’s interview with Kate Jacobs here. Until November 23, you can also enter a giveaway for a chance to win one of two signed copies of Knit the Season!
Would I read more by this author? Definitely! I have to go back and catch up on Knit Two, and I already own Comfort Food.
© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2010