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'Knit Two' by Kate Jacobs is the sequel to 'The Friday Night Knitting Club' which tells the story of a group of women who come together at a knitting shop in New York. Every Friday night, they meet to work on their knitting projects, eat cakes and share their stories. It was a book that drew you right into the lives of the characters and really made you care about what happened to them, and the sad ending to the first book made me want to know what happened to the members of the group in the future. Therefore, when I spotted the follow-up in Borders last week, I was desperate to buy it.
'Knit Two' starts five years after 'The Friday Night Knitting Club' ends and picks up the stories of the group of women from the first novel. Like its predecessor, this is a book that is all about the power of female friendship and the impact that women of very different ages and backgrounds can have on each others lives. The five years that have passed have brought new challenges for the women but they have maintained the tradition of meeting up on a Friday night in the knitting store founded by Georgia Walker and keeping her memory alive.
Georgia's daughter Dakota is now at university and struggling with the things that are expected of her. She is expected to take over the running of the store once she graduates but her dream is to be a baker and bake the cakes, pastries and muffins that she loves. Peri is running the store on her own, while trying to showcase her own knitted accessory range at the same time, and still hoping that she will meet the man of her dreams. Darwin has newborn twins to look after and is adapting to a completely different family life. Lucie is facing the challenges of having a successful career, being a single parent and coping with her Mum's old age. Catherine is still searching for the right man following her divorce in the first novel and Anita is planning a wedding to Marty, despite the objections of her children.
The book follows the lives of these women through a period of a few months and provides a roller-coaster of emotions as they face the upheavals in their lives. Like the first book, 'Knit Two' really pulled me into the women's lives and kept me turning the pages, wanting to know what happened next. The bond the group formed in the first novel is still very much apparent and there is a strong theme of friendship running through the book - whatever the individual challenges they face, they are all still there for each other. Like all groups of friends, they definitely have their ups and downs and this really adds to the story as the individual friendships change and develop over the course of the story.
The first part of the book is set in New York and a large chunk of the later part of the book is set in Rome. The evocative descriptions of both locations give a real sense of place and make it easy to picture the effects the surroundings have on the characters. I always love books set in New York anyway as it is my favourite city, but the book really made me want to visit Rome as well, as it is a place that I have never been.
After loving 'The Friday Night Knitting Club' so much, I was a little bit apprehensive about reading this just in case I didn't love it - I needn't have worried though, I loved this book just as much as I loved the first one. It was great to find out what happened next to the characters and see what directions their lives were taking and the story definitely kept me turning the pages - I finished it in two days. If you haven't read 'The Friday Night Knitting Club' then I'd definitely recommend reading that first - you could read this on its own but it is better as a sequel just because you get a whole different insight into the lives of the characters. It is undoubtedly a book for women but I think there is a bit more depth to it than a lot of chick-lit - the main characters range in age from 18 to mid-70s so I would suggest it could appeal to a wide range of women. It's even inspired me to pick up my knitting again, not that I've got any great knitting talents, but I find it a relaxing way to pass a bit of time in the evenings and the book has got me inspired to start on a new project.