24 July 2009

Book Review: Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

Knit Two - Kate JacobsKnit Two is set 5 years after its prequel, The Friday Night Knitting Club. Dakota is now 18 years old and at college, and she's struggling to balance her college life and her social life. This isn't help by dad James who is trying to do his best by his daughter by getting her a good education even if it isn't what she wants. Peri is running Georgia's shop and trying to set up her own line of bags as well. Catherine, Georgia's best friend, is newly singly and finding it rather liberating although she's still searching for Mr Right! Darwin has had twin babies and is finding it hard to cope with such a change of lifestyle and finally Anita has found love with Marty and is setting up for a wedding, but she is hiding a dark secret she needs to reveal before she can proceed further. What does the future have in store of the ladies of the Friday Night Knitting Club?

Jacobs' debut was such a massive hit that I think she had a job on her hands in trying to make its sequel live up to the expectations of her readers. The first novel is being made into a Hollywood film starring Julia Roberts, so I wonder if she wrote this thinking of it as a book or a potential film? After the incredibly sad and tearful ending of the first novel, I wondered whether this book would be more dowbeat, but I think in choosing to set it such a long period of time after the initial storyline, she bypasses the sadness and can develop her characters further and also insert a little backstory without having to delve into too much detail.

Being that the characters are the same (bar one of course), the book is very easy to pick up and get into for those of us who read and loved FNKC. If you haven't read the first novel, you will probably enjoy this but I'd recommend starting with its prequel because of the story and you get to know more about the characters that way too. Things have changed for the characters but I like how the shop is still open, and Dakota has grown up into a mature young woman and seems to fit in with the older females in the book far better. This book chooses to concentrate quite heavily on Catherine, Dakota and Anita, with the other females popping up with their own storylines but they haven't got as much gravitas as the 3 main lead characters.

Again, I found that the storylines were very realistic and the book moved along at a good pace. You can see plotlines that will be familiar to you such as James and Dakota's father/daughter arguments and Catherine's adjustment to being a single lady again and you can relate to these characters which is perhaps what made these books so successful for Jacobs. The book travels from America to Italy, and the author has done her research because I could sit and imagine all of the landmarks Dakota visits in my head, and it was nice to have a change of scenery, another thing which differentiates it from the first novel which was primarily set in New York and Scotland.

Knitting is far less prominent in this book than it was in the first. Yes, Dakota is carrying on her mothers hobby and this is mentioned a few times but for the most part, you can almost forget this book is based on a Knitting Shop and its customers. This is a shame as I felt this was such an interesting part of the first novel, but I suppose Jacobs' couldn't keep everything the same or it wouldn't have been that different from the first book. It is a very sentimental book due to the ending of the first one, and while this is nice to read for the most part, it does get a little tedious and I felt this story was dragged out a little bit towards the end and could have been wrapped up or toned down a tad, but it didn#t spoil my enjoyment of the book too much.

Unfortunately this book just didn't match up to the first book which was such a brilliantly original story that a sequel could never have matched up, no matter how hard Jacobs' tried. I didn't really care much for Catherine and her story which was a shame as she is probably the most prominent in the book, and Dakota was so different I hardly recognised her from before. Anita is the only one who remains the same, and the storyline with her hidden secret was interesting and perhaps covered a little too briefly for my liking. If you read TFNKC, you'll want to read this to find out what happened to the characters, but don't be expecting something as good as the first book because it isn't - it is still a good enough read though!

The third book in the series, Knit The Season, is due out in November 2009 and is set a year after this novel so I expect I'll be reading that one too!!

Rating: 4/5

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