A Steel Magnolias for the 21st-century set in a New York City knitting shop.
Debut novelist Jacobs capitalizes on last year’s hot knitting trend with this laughs-and-tears women’s novel. Georgia Walker, a single mother in her gorgeous late 30s, runs a specialty knitting shop in midtown Manhattan. Every Friday, a quirky group of women gathers at the shop for food, gossip and tips. The novel follows the threads of their criss-crossing lives—more or less. Its true focus is Georgia’s romance, past and possibly present, with Dakota’s father James, a handsome, charming, successful black architect who has reappeared on the scene after a 12-year absence. (Jacobs touches on race—Georgia is white—but it serves as little more than an exotic grace note in an otherwise standard romance plot.) The novel’s most successful stretch takes place in Scotland, far away from the knitting shop and the club, when Georgia visits her wisdom-dispensing grandmother with her 12-year-old daughter Dakota and her spoiled, ex-socialite best friend in tow. Jacobs seems all too aware of her book’s niche market potential. Readers are encouraged to visit a website devoted to the book for knitting tips and patterns.
The female cast is likeable, but Jacobs pushes hard the idea of knitting as a metaphor for life, which thickens the novel’s syrupy Lifetime Channel melodrama until it congeals into a bizarre ending.