Dirty Sexy Knitting
I am very sure that if I had read the previous books in the series, I would have gotten a lot more out of Dirty Sexy Knitting. There were times I felt like an outsider at a big family reunion. Even so, I did enjoy the book even though I know there were nuances I could not grasp.
Cassandra Riley owns Malibu & Ewe, a knitting shop in Malibu. She is about to turn thirty and is feeling lost and on the outside looking in. Cassandra’s mother Judith conceived her via a sperm donor, and has never been much for mothering. It’s not that Judith is bad or evil, but she is more interested in herself than anyone else and not even her daughter’s birthday party can stop her from her planned trip to Tibet. Cassandra’s two friends (and maybe sisters from the same donor), Juliet and Nikki, give her all the support they can but one is a newlywed and one is engaged, and they have their own lives now. Just as Cassandra is feeling as low as can be, she gets a call about her landlord Gabe Kincaid.
Gabe owns a number of properties in Malibu including Cassandra’s shop. He’s a good landlord, a nice guy and he’s quite good-looking but he has a self destructive streak a mile long. Several years ago, Gabe’s wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident and naturally he blames himself. His method of coping with his grief is to get blind, stinking, puking drunk along with toying with nooses and talking about running his car in a closed garages. Cassandra has brought his drunk self home a time or two and does it now, but this time the dynamics between them change. Perhaps Gabe is ready to give up his self destructive streak.
Dirty Sexy Knitting is an introspective book. The bit of outside conflict which involves escalating vandalism directed at Cassandra’s shop is finally resolved when the perpetrator comes right out of nowhere. Most of the book is about Cassandra – her deep longing for family and stability, and her fear that she may lose the tentative family she has gained with Nikki and Juliet. Then there is Gabe – a fundamentally nice and totally decent man who is crippled with guilt and sorrow. Happily, both of them are at a point where they want to let go of their pathologies and embrace the good in their lives. The epilogue is perhaps a bit over the top, but it’s sweet and I teared up when I finished it.
Dirty Sexy Knitting is a sweet book with sweet characters and it’s a hymn to family, friends and belonging. It really needed a stronger plot, though, and I wished that some characters (most notably the sperm donor) had ventured on stage instead of staying off, but all in all this was a pleasant enough read even if it lacked that certain something.