Knitters will enjoy seeing the healing power of stitching put into words. Its simplicity and soothing repetition leave room for conversation, laughter, revelations and friendship-just like the beauty shop in Steel Magnolias.
Between running her Manhattan yarn shop, Walker & Daughter, and raising her 12-year-old biracial daughter, Dakota, Georgia Walker has plenty on her plate in Jacobs's debut novel. But when Dakota's father reappears and a former friend contacts Georgia, Georgia's orderly existence begins to unravel. Her support system is her staff and the knitting club that meets at her store every Friday night, though each person has dramas of her own brewing. Jacobs surveys the knitters' histories, and the novel's pace crawls as the novel lurches between past and present, the latter largely occupied by munching on baked goods, sipping coffee and watching the knitters size each other up. Club members' troubles don't intersect so much as build on common themes of domestic woes and betrayal. It takes a while, but when Jacobs, who worked at Redbook and Working Woman, hits her storytelling stride, poignant twists propel the plot and help the pacing find a pleasant rhythm.
Georgia Walker's entire life is wrapped up in running her knitting store, Walker and Daughter, and caring for her 12-year-old daughter, Dakota. With the help of Anita, a lively widow in her seventies, Georgia starts the Friday Night Knitting Club, which draws loyal customers and a few oddballs.... Jacobs' winning first novel is bound to have appeal among book clubs. — Kristine Huntley
A Steel Magnolias for the 21st-century set in a New York City knitting shop. Debut novelist Jacobs capitalizes on last year's hot knitting trend with this laughs-and-tears women's novel. Georgia Walker, a single mother in her gorgeous late 30s, runs a specialty knitting shop in midtown Manhattan. Every Friday, a quirky group of women gathers at the shop for food, gossip and tips. The novel follows the threads of their criss-crossing lives-more or less. Its true focus is Georgia's romance, past and possibly present, with Dakota's father James, a handsome, charming, successful black architect who has reappeared on the scene after a 12-year absence. (Jacobs touches on race-Georgia is white-but it serves as little more than an exotic grace note in an otherwise standard romance plot.) The novel's most successful stretch takes place in Scotland, far away from the knitting shop and the club, when Georgia visits her wisdom-dispensing grandmother with her 12-year-old daughter Dakota and her spoiled, ex-socialite best friend in tow. Jacobs seems all too aware of her book's niche market potential. Readers are encouraged to visit a website devoted to the book for knitting tips and patterns. The female cast is likeable, but Jacobs pushes hard the idea of knitting as a metaphor for life, which thickens the novel's syrupy Lifetime Channel melodrama until it congeals into a bizarre ending.
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