This first one, The Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs, was sent to me by a friend. We both agreed it is not likely to win a Pulitzer Prize or be studied in English classes (despite the “Readers Guide” at the end of the book). But . . . it is a very good book. It is a people book, the sort where you really get to know the characters, and you find yourself caring about their lives. The primary protagonist is Georgia Walker, a single mom in New York City who owns a knitting shop. We also get involved in the lives of the women who create the Friday Night Knitting Club, and of the people we meet through them. We see a slice of their lives, and how they handle love, victories, and defeats. It is a book about friendship and relationships that matter. Even though there are sad things, this is a feel-good book, and one I very much enjoyed reading. Jacobs gives loving descriptions of yarn and the knitting projects of the characters, but they are presented in a way that engages your emotions.
The second book is Death by Cashmere, by Sally Goldenbaum, and as you may have guessed from the title is a mystery book. It is billed as “A Seaside Knitters Mystery,” so I assume there will be more to come. Goldenbaum is not quite as good at characterization — we get told a variety of bits and pieces about the characters, but even by the end of the book I did not feel as if I knew them. However, she handles the mystery very well. There are enough clues and red herrings to keep you guessing until toward the end of the book, though I had an idea who it was by two-thirds of the way in (just not all the details). Goldenbaum also gives vivid, dazzling descriptions of the knitting shop, the yarn, and the creations of the knitters, in a way that engages your visual sense. And it is obvious this is an author who loves food, because meals are not just a setting for scenes, but are lovingly described down to the ingredients and the wine served.
Publishers tend to be very aware of niche audiences and how to sell more books, and it is obvious they’ve realized knitters will buy more than just books about patterns and how to knit. I suspect authors such as Stephanie Pearl McPhee (the Yarn Harlot ) gave them a clue about that. Am sure there are many other knitting novels out there, and I will keep my eyes open for them. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the Comments! Thank you. 🙂