November 19, 2013
The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo
The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society studies books and knitting. Together. A group of ladies get together once a month to read a book and knit a project related to that book. And this year, the leader Eugenie chooses love stories, probably as a result of her recent marriage to the preacher. Her foster daughter Hannah is pursued by a new boy in school, but he is in a different social realm than her and it makes her nervous. Camille too is pursued by an old crush who doesn't want to lose her, but she desires to get out of the town and finally go to college. Esther finds herself greatly in debt after the loss of her husband and has to make some hard decisions. Merry struggles with leaving her child at daycare and going to work full time with her lawyer husband and Maria too has financial troubles brought on by her father's death. And sometimes the club just isn't enough to help these ladies get through their day.
There are a lot of dead people mentioned in this book. Nearly every character has lost someone. But rather than focus on that, the theme is on love instead which means there are all kinds of romances happening in this book. Maria's admirer started off as pompous and considering her old, yet seems drawn to her in a way he can't control. I found him a bit cold, but to each their own I guess. Merry has a good husband who sees her through. Although she's a bit spastic about her children, which I guess only a mother could understand. Eugenie's husband, for being a preacher, is pretty quiet and secretive, which surprises me in a new marriage. Hannah's boyfriend seems a bit too good to be true which Hannah suffers from a low self esteem. Which is actually pretty realistic for a teenager her age. Camille and her boyfriend are in the book, but felt more like afterthoughts to me as their stories weren't developed quite as much or focused on.
I liked reading all of the different stories for the characters but felt they were too rushed and incomplete. It's obvious this book is part of a series and it suffers from middle-book syndrome. It couldn't just stand alone but made you want to read the rest book as you wanted to finish the stories. Which I'm not even sure if there's a next book out yet. But the pace did hurt this book quite a bit. That and the lack of actual knitting. It was mentioned here and there, along with different stitches, but it and the books took a back seat to all the drama of the characters. I would have really liked to hear more about the knitting. Luckily, in the literature's case, they did at least have a short one or two page discussion about a book each time. This is a slightly religious book too as the church is mentioned several times (since one of the characters is married to the preacher) and the Song of Solomon is one of the selections for the club. It's not overt though.
I'd probably read the next book just to finish up the characters stories. And maybe the first book, just to see if the series started out strong. But this one was just average.
The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love