Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spotlight Review: Knit in Comfort by Isabel Sharpe

KNIT IN COMFORT – Isabel Sharpe
Avon A (Trade Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-06-176549-0
June 2010
Women’s Fiction

Comfort, North Carolina – Present Day

Note: In the history of heirloom crafts, none is more intriguing than the legend about Shetland Island lace. Known the world over for its beauty, the finished product is so fine, an entire shawl can be pulled through a wedding ring.

In the small town of Comfort, North Carolina, family tradition and old-fashioned values are prized. Here, the Purls Before Wine knitting group is working on a blanket for the next charity auction. Megan Morgan is a faithful member. She’s a stay-at-home mom while her husband, Stanley, travels regularly. Their home is in a sad state of disrepair, but Megan has a world of her own in her backyard, which is perfectly landscaped. She loves to sit in the garden in the wee hours of the morning before her family descends the stairs clamoring for their breakfast.

Money has been so tight lately that Megan finally convinces Stanley to let her rent the apartment above the garage. Stanley doesn’t think they need the extra money, but he isn’t home half the time and it falls to Megan to keep the bills paid, a tedious job which is getting harder and harder these days. It seems the more he works, the less money they have. So, when someone finally calls about her ad, Megan is both overjoyed and nervous.

Elizabeth Detlaff needs to get away from Manhattan. After a vision from her deceased grandmother, she finds the town of Comfort. Her boyfriend is away in England for the next month, so Elizabeth rents Megan's garage apartment and moves right in. She needs the time away from the city to tame her demons and figure out what to do with the rest of her life.

KNIT IN COMFORT isn’t about being contented, but rather, it's a story about the small town of Comfort, specifically, Megan Morgan. Elizabeth immediately ingratiates herself right into Megan's family, sharing their dinners and activities. Even though Megan offered dinner as part of the deal, she starts resenting Elizabeth's intrusion into her life. So she knits. Knitting is Megan’s stress relief; it keeps her hands busy and her mind from thinking about the things she can’t control (like Elizabeth). Born to the craft handed down by her mother, Megan has the gift to create the delicate Shetland lace, a skill passed down through the generations of her family. Fragile and beautiful, the lace is as much a part of Megan as breathing, but for some reason, when Elizabeth asks questions about it, Megan feels threatened and she begins to question her life. Meanwhile, Elizabeth comes to some realizations of her own when she unwittingly uncovers Comfort’s guilty secrets.

KNIT IN COMFORT is an outstanding character-driven novel about choices and changes. Megan’s three children, Lolly, Jeffrey, and Deena keep her busy. Her childhood friend, David Langley, lives next door and sits most nights on his front porch, drowning his misery in a liquor bottle. The other ladies of the Purls are Dorene, Sally, Ella, and Vera. They’re all a part of the story’s plot that weaves its own bit of mystery. Interspersed throughout the chapters are scenes from Shetland Island in the 1920s when Megan’s great-grandmother, Fiona Tulloch, first learned to knit the fabled lace. Elizabeth’s story intertwines with Megan’s, captured both in the present and in the tales from Shetland Island about a sorceress and her spells. Together, Megan and Elizabeth form a tenuous relationship that blossoms as the hidden past is revealed and touches the lives of each one of the Purls Before Wine ladies.

KNIT IN COMFORT is an intricate and complex story. I can't say enough about this book; you just have to go out and get it. It's a must-buy for June!

Diana Risso

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