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Saturday, December 18, 2010

how to knit a love song - a book review

i bought this book from the mannings at KDO this year.  i like me a good knit lit book and the title sounded interesting.  written by rachael herron, author of the blog yarn-a-go-go, this is her first novel, written during NaNoWriMo a few years ago.

the book languished on my shelf for about a month before it took it down and decided to read it.  i got about halfway through the book before i abandoned it for magazines (so i could pass them on or recycle them).  i found the book again, at the bottom of my "junk" basket on the love seat, and decided once and for all that i would finally finish the book and knock out a review.

how to knit a love song is a story about a young woman named abigail, who inherited a small cottage and a treasure trove of fleece, spinning wheels and yarns, from her knitting mentor/confidant eliza carpenter.  eliza is a well known knitting expert (think EZ) and she leaves abigail her gifts as a way of keeping her knitting legacy alive, as well as giving abigail a fresh start after healing from a hellacious relationship.

the cottage also stands on the grounds of eliza's nephew, womanizing cade, who raises sheep on a ranch.  cade inherits the ranch and the house on the land, and is upset that he has to share the space with abigail the intruder.  cade is intentionally rude to abigail but she digs her heels in, working hard to clean up the cottage.  finding the cottage in deplorable condition (plus her fear of bats and mice, and lack of a working bathroom and kitchen), she takes up temporary residence in the ranch house much to cade's dismay.  during the course of the story, they naturally become attracted to each other thus beginning a love/hate relationship.  a series of incidents (including a dangerous fire; neighboring farmers' concerns that abigail's tiny yarn shop will somehow turn the bucolic community into a mega store metropolis and a near tragedy in the end) test their relationship and determine whether they can come together and become friends (with benefits) or remain enemies.

the story was entertaining, funny and a bit sexy.  of all the knit lit books i've read, it was quite bodice ripper-y in spots.  i'm no prude, but the "sexy" parts made me blush quite a bit. however, i enjoyed the author's descriptions of the cottage and it's contents, and i could practically imagine the piles of fleeces, the spinning wheels, the upstairs room with the window'd cupola.  i also enjoyed imagining the ranch house, which i thought sounded very cozy and inviting, considering the fact that a man lived there.  the story takes place in coastal northern california, and i could practically see the hills, the red wood forests and the ocean.  abigail's publicist, janet, and cade's ranch hand, tom, were also very entertaining and i enjoyed their "opposites attract" relationship.  i also liked that each chapter was prefaced with a "knit bit" by eliza (or EC), which could also be interpreted as a life advice as well.

on the other hand, i just couldn't get into the story.  i think the love/hate relationship grated me to the point that i wished abigail and cade would just get over their differences and screw each other's brains out, if they were so hot for each other.  while i understand why cade was such a bastard to abigail, his arrogance annoyed me too.

i think the ending annoyed me the most.  abigail's menacing ex boyfriend arrived on the scene, causing some of the issues that (unbeknownst) threatened to destroy abigail and cade's blossoming relationship.  the penultimate crisis seemed a bit muddy to me, to the point that i had to reread the passage a few times to understand what was going on.  the ending felt a bit unfinished and left me with a couple of unanswered questions, such as what happened to abigail's dog, and how successful was eliza's shop.

 there is a very nice sweater pattern at the end of book.  the love song sweater features raglan sleeves, a mock turtleneck, and simple cabling, the perfect sweater for the perfect guy.

in short, how to knit a love song is an entertaining story, if you're into harlequin romance novels about hunky cowboys and strong willed women.  out of five stars, i give this book ***.


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