Third in a bland series about a British knit-shop owner.
McNeil’s dubious strategy appears to be this: Take an inherently tame subject and make it even tamer. Having relocated from London to the sleepy seaside town of Broadgate Bay, Jo Mackenzie has finally achieved equilibrium after presumably more exciting upheavals in previous books (Divas Don’t Knit, 2007, etc.). Her globe-trotting, philandering reporter husband Nick, father of Jo’s two sons, announced he wanted a divorce shortly before he was killed in a car crash. While visiting her singularly unsupportive parents in Venice, Jo had a consolatory fling with Daniel, a top fashion photographer, resulting in an unplanned pregnancy. Worse, she discovered she’s penniless since Nick mortgaged the family home. Now, Pearl, the unplanned baby, is going through her princess toddler phase and sons Archie and Jack are misbehaving in ways American parents could only dream of. For such a dull drudge, Jo has some interesting friends: Grace, a student in Jo’s knitting class, also happens to be a movie star (Broadgate’s answer to Julia Roberts?), and Ellen is host of a weekly TV interview program. In the romance department, carpenter and computer guru Martin, he of the lovable but untrainable hound Trevor, puts Jo to sleep on their first date. Will this be a regular occurrence, Jo’s friends speculate endlessly? Only time will tell. (The soporific effect on readers, however, will be immediate.) Halfway through, crisis looms when Jo’s parents come to visit, imposing themselves on Jo’s grandmother and threatening to disrupt a big event: Grace has agreed to be Ellen’s first guest at an episode to be filmed at Jo’s knit shop. Slowed by bloated and repetitious dialogue, child-rearing minutia (no detail spared about family routines, meals, school activities, etc.), lame attempts at cuteness and an almost complete absence of conflict, the story fizzles long before a major complication can salvage it.
May appeal to a niche readership with a high tolerance for tedium.