Review: The Sweetheart's Knitting Club

  • : Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/pachydom/public_html/modules/modules/vbcore/vbcore.module on line 430.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/pachydom/public_html/modules/modules/vbcore/vbcore.module on line 213.
  • strict warning: mktime(): You should be using the time() function instead in /home/pachydom/public_html/modules/modules/vbforumblocks/vbforumblocks.module on line 230.

TITLE: The Sweethearts' Knitting Club
AUTHOR: Lori Wilde
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $7.99

In the town of Twilight, Texas, people take their romances – and their knitting – very seriously. There’s the Sweetheart Tree, Twilight Bridge, the knitting club comprised of women who married their high school sweethearts…and in the middle of all of it, Flynn MacGregor, the girl next door who’s been dating the boy next door now sheriff for the past ten years. Flynn has turned down Beau’s marriage proposal three times already, always with an excuse that other people need her – her alcoholic father, her dying mother, her wild sister – but deep in her heart, she knows the real reason. The bad boy who stole her heart in high school, Jesse Calloway. The one who went to jail the day of graduation for possessing cocaine. The one who just got released after ten years, determined to come back to Twilight and claim what always belonged to him…

Homespun contemporary romances proliferate the market, satisfying a section of readers who want stories a little more close to home. That means they’re inevitably softer around the edges, with more folksy characters and fewer extremes. Lori Wilde’s latest falls comfortably into this niche, doing very little to stray from anything that might upset the knitting basket.

Flynn MacGregor has spent her whole life seeing to everybody else’s needs first. The oldest of four, she was forced to become a parent early when her mother’s death and her father’s alcoholism removed them from their respective roles. As such, she’s always secretly yearned to be able to let go. The only time she has was in the few short months she was friends with – and then fell in love with – bad boy Jesse Calloway. She was prepared to break it off completely with Beau, when Jesse got arrested, and she believed the worst, just like nearly everybody else in town. She continued presenting the image everybody expected in the ten years since, all the way to fulfilling her mother’s dying wish for a yarn store where the knitters of Twilight can gather. Even though Flynn has been lying for years about her ability to knit.

When Jesse gets an early release, his one desire is to return to Twilight and make Beau Trainer pay for setting him up. He’s devastated when he discovers Flynn is engaged to the man now, but the old spark is still there, and he is drawn to her over and over again. But his bad boy exterior is just as much of a mask as Flynn’s. His idea of being bad is riding a motorcycle, wearing tight jeans, and having a tattoo. At heart, he’s as decent as Flynn is, and she’s the only person to have ever recognized that.

While there’s a definite charm to Twilight and its citizens, the primary characters let it down. Jesse is a bad boy in name only, the kind of hero meant to make conservative women think they’re living dangerously. He’s the most charming and likeable of the bunch, though. Flynn lacks any kind of spine. Jesse defines it as her need to please others, but it translates on the page to someone who refuses to make any kind of definitive choice. When she repeatedly believes the worst of Jesse – without any proof and in spite of his protestations to the contrary – I’m left seeing her as completely undeserving of someone with Jesse’s trust and devotion. She has ample opportunity to come forward and stand up for him, and never does. And by constantly forgiving Flynn, Jesse only weakens whatever self-respect he projected. She doesn’t deserve forgiveness. She deserves to lose him, once and for all.

I was also disappointed in the way Beau, Flynn’s straight-laced sheriff boyfriend, is demonized in order to make Jesse look better. Beau’s big mistake is that he feels the need to save Flynn, and he often chooses to do so in the least positive ways, including getting Jesse out of her life in the first place. Rather than try and explore this need of Beau’s, however, it’s glossed over, stealing any kind of depth from his character. There’s no mystery who Flynn is going to choose. The only thing really standing in Flynn’s way is…Flynn.

Does that mean I didn’t like the story? No, it means I didn’t love it. There’s still a certain whimsy to the small town atmosphere, and the background characters, while not really original, are entertaining enough to keep me reading. Yes, I wanted to slap Flynn, but I actually liked Jesse, even if I didn’t buy his bad boy persona. It’s just not the truly heartfelt, true love story it was probably intended to be…unless you don’t mind wishy washy heroines and stereotypical bad boyfriends.


Great review, though I think I'll be skipping reading the book. I've never much cared for wishy-washy heroines. It always amazes me when a genre of book written for women by women has such poorly conceived women as the heroines!