For healthy attitudes towards sex, for endless tension, for investigations into family dynamics and systemic societal racial prejudices. And the occasional mention of knitting
Expected Release: May 19, 2020
Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts in Harlem. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans on what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store: Jesse wants to keep the store open; his brothers want to shut it down. Jesse makes an impassioned plea to Kerry Fuller, his childhood friend who has had a crush on him her entire life, to help him figure out how to run the business. Kerry agrees to help him reinvent the store and show him the knitty-gritty of the business, but the more time they spend together, the more the chemistry builds. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe this relationship will exist longer than one can knit one, purl one. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her—after all, real men knit.
While this was quite different from what I expected, I still really liked it! There was a much stronger focus on how Jesse and Kerry felt about each other than I expected. That was the majority of the story, it seemed: alternating between then thinking about the other. The aspect of the business having to be saved and working to restart it seemed almost like a subplot at most, and not much happened with it until about 70% into the book.
The romance was eh, though the descriptions of their sexual thoughts and actions was excellent. They’re were no descriptions of actual sex, but be aware this is more graphic than I expected for a story apparently focused on knitting. 😂 In the end, it felt like the same cliche of the bad boy with a rep being tamed. The conflict was entirely due to idiocy and had me rolling my eyes and thinking as I so often do, “and if you would just talk to each other there would be literally no problem.” 😑
Not only was the conflict disappointing (and barely existent), but the way it resolved also felt abrupt and weak. Still, I was rooting for the characters and wanted to see them happy!
This book’s strength is in its racial representation; people of all backgrounds are represented, and it’s a part of their lives, but they’re more than the color of their skin. It doesn’t take over defining them, which I see so often in books.
Thanks to Edelweiss and Penguin for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.