THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET
A Seattle knitting store brings together four very different women in this earnest tale about friendship and love. Lydia Hoffman, a two-time cancer survivor, opens the shop A Good Yarn as a symbol of the new life she plans to lead. She starts a weekly knitting class, hoping to improve business and make friends in the area. The initial class project is a baby blanket, and Macomber (Changing Habits ), a knitter herself who offers tips about the craft and pithy observations from knitting professionals throughout the novel, includes the knitting pattern at the start of the book. Well-heeled Jacqueline Donovan, who chooses to ignore her empty marriage, disguises her disdain for her pregnant daughter-in-law by knitting a baby blanket. Carol Girard joins the group as an affirmation of her hopes to finally have a successful in vitro pregnancy. Alix Townsend, a high school dropout with an absentee father and a mother incarcerated for forging checks, uses the class to satisfy a court-ordered community service sentence for a drug-possession conviction for which her roommate is really responsible. Unfortunately, Macomber doesn't get much below the surface of her characters, and, although they all have interesting back stories, the arc of each individual happy ending is too predictable. The only surprise involves Alix's hapless, overweight roommate, Laurel, and even this smacks of plot-driven manipulation. Macomber is an adept storyteller overall, however, and many will be entertained by this well-paced story about four women finding happiness and fulfillment through their growing friendships. Agent, Irene Goodman . (May)
Forecast: The religious overtones of Macomber's novel may throw some readers, but the author should attract her usual sizeable readership and pick up some fans of Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series. Author tour.