Greetings, dear readers. I know it’s been a long while since I’ve written anything but it’s been a rough year.
I decided to write tonight because I just finished a book, and have been pondering it since finishing. The book is called The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club, by Gil McNeil. I don’t usually purchase books by unfamiliar authors and never buy paperbacks if I can help it – I tend to borrow them from the local library – but I went into Barnes & Noble on Saturday to buy Jan Karon’s latest in hardcover, and bought this on a whim, based on the title. Being a knitter myself, it intrigued me.
The plot and characters were well written and well-developed. The basic plot involves a 30-something woman who is married to a foreign correspondent for a British news station. We meet Jo on moving day, when she can’t find the tea kettle, and packed the list that shows what box it is in. We also meet her two young boys and Jo’s best friend Ellen, a well-known newscaster, who saves the day by enticing the movers to pop out for coffee. We learn that Jo’s husband recently earned a big promotion, but after he shares this news with Jo, he also informs her he wants a divorce because he’s having an affair. An argument ensues, Nick storms out, and crashes his car. Not only that, we find out he took out a second mortgage on their house, making it impossible for Jo to afford to continue living in London. Instead, she moves to a seaside town near her grandmother, and takes over her Gran’s yarn store, which Gran has given her.
The book details Jo’s transition as she begins a new and unexpected life. We meet many interesting characters in the town – the stiff and disapproving shop assistant, Elsie; the warm-hearted and loyal new friend, Constanza; the local big-time movie star, Grace. Ms McNeil has a fine touch of revealing the personalities and traits of these and the many other people who inhabit Jo’s world. I was often reminded of the complex characters we met in Maeve Binchy’s novels.
But one thing I find hard to deal with is Ms McNeil’s constant use of expletives and foul language. I have spent a good deal of time in England, among a similar class of people as in this novel, and have never heard them speak this way. certainly with all the myriad of words in the English language, Ms McNeil could find another way to express herself without using the f-word on every page, or using the name of the Lord as a curse word. Take a page out of Shakespeare, and get a bit more creative if you must curse, Gil! She makes her characters sound as if they are all truck drivers and stevedores by the way they speak.
In conclusion, I liked the story, and would enjoy learning more about Jo McKenzie and her life, but, I think I will forgo reading any sequels until Ms McNeil cleans up her language.