Review of A GOOD YARN by Debbie Macomber (see her website)
Mira, May 2005
After over thirty years of divorce, Elise Beaumont is still not over her anger at her ex-husband, Maverick. Maverick was a professional gambler and Elise felt rejected by his love of poker. Bethanne Hamlin's divorce was much more recent, but her anger at ex-husband Grant, has tainted their two children--to the extent that her daughter is actively sabotaging her father's lover and that neither of the children agree to visit their father. Courtney Pulanski is spending her senior year in Seattle, a thousand miles from her siblings, while her father works in Brazil. Courtney lives with her grandmother and obsesses about her weight.
These three women end up taking a class together at a knitting shop run by Lydia Hoffman. Lydia has her own problems, with men, family, and money.
The three students work with Lydia to learn to knit socks and offer one another practical advice. After a rough start, Courtney makes friends with Bethanne's two children--and develops a crush on her handsome football-star son. But Elise's daughter invites Maverick to stay with them (Elise is living with them) and Elise is torn between her love for the man and her certainty that he will never be able to give up the gambling he loves. Then Lydia suffers a horrible setback in what had been a wonderful relationship with Brad, the sexy UPS driver. Meanwhile, finances get worse and worse for Bethanne, whose ex-husband refuses to pay more than his alimony and child support--and for Lydia whose brother-in-law has lost his job.
Author Debbie Macomber (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of books by Macomber) writes convincingly of women dealing with changes--with loss of income, of trust, and of the men upon whom they built their lives. Elise, Bethanne, and Courtney start out bitter, striking out at those who care for them without even realizing what they're doing. Despite their efforts to support one another, it seems that it will take magic, true fairy dust, for the three to thrive.
Macomber's writing is so convincing, I was tempted to shake the characters by the shoulder and tell them to get a grip. Self-pity is difficult to make appealing and even Macomber's strong talent can only go so far. Also, Courtney wasn't quite convincing as a teenager.
Fans of THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET (see our review) will be happy to see the original knitting class characters, mostly moving forward in their lives. If you enjoy stories of character growth and emotion, A GOOD YARN has a lot to recommend it.
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