Author: Beth Pattillo
Publisher’s Synopsis: Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.
As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.
Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennesee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.
Ok, I figured out this was a sequel a couple of pages into the book, but I was too interested already. I love that the main characters are a wide variety of ages, all have different likes, dislikes, and opinions, and that nothing is wrapped up nicely and neatly in a perfect little package– and yet it is a great ending that leaves you hungry for more. No, this isn’t deep literature– it’s more like a wonderful escape into the little town of Sweetgum and enjoying a visit with old friends.
One of the delightful things about the book was the twinge of Pride and Prejudice shown in the story. Actually, I saw a little bit of the Dashwoods of Sense and Sensibility too, but I don’t think it was intentional. The characters were clearly recognizable without being a pathetic retelling of that classic story in today’s setting. That was a huge relief, I assure you.
While there were weak spots and I did struggle with part of the plot progression in a couple of places, I truly don’t know if that is because I was reading a sequel or if it was a fault of the story. Frankly, I don’t care. It was fun, delightful, and I’m keeping my copy. I’m also ordering the first one so I can get the “back story”. Once I’ve read that, I plan to read this again just for the sheer joy of disappearing into the world of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society and their friends. I sure hope this isn’t the last of the tales… I’d love to know more about Esther, if Hunter is truly fine, and see Hannah grow into the lovely young woman I see hidden beneath her personna.
If you like a relaxing visit into another world… but with a clear plot and interesting characters, I’d give the Sweetgum series a serious look.