An Offer He Can't Refuse

Beginning With Baby

The Care & Feeding of Unmarried Men

Do Not Disturb

First Comes Love

Must Love Mistletoe

Not Another New Year’s

Wish You Were Here

Unravel Me by by Christie Ridgway
(Penguin, $7.99, R)  ISBN 978-0425-22485-4
Unravel Me is the second installment of the knitting series and Ridgway has written a story that grabbed me and didn’t let me go.  While I struggled with some of the premises, I truly felt engaged in the romance and the story.  I don’t think you will be disappointed either.

Juliet Weston is the widow of General Wayne Weston, a man who was 20 years her senior.  He was a decorated hero and had been discussed as a possible Presidential candidate until he married Juliet. The press dubbed her the “Dealbreaker.”  Later, when the General died after a long battle with cancer, they called her the Merry Widow. That term came about when it was discovered she was at a spa getting a facial and pedicure when he died. The truth however, was far more romantic. Juliet met Wayne when she was just thirteen and he was visiting her parents.  He entranced her then and she carried a major crush on him for years.  When she was 23 and burying her father, he came to the funeral and swept her off her feet.  They had a good marriage until the cancer slowly destroyed Wayne.  For the last few years, Juliet nursed him night and day.  The day she went to the spa was the first she had been away from his side for weeks.

A year after his death, Juliet is now living in her own home in Malibu, not far from Wayne’s mansion.  Juliet moved out so that Wayne’s daughter from his first marriage could have the family home. Marlys and Juliet are similar in age, although Juliet is in her early thirties while Marlys is in her 20’s. Juliet shares her home, in an odd sort of way, with Noah Smith.  Noah lives in the guesthouse across the pool.  Noah was the General’s aide for years.  He was assigned to help the General and the General had always ordered him to take care of Juliet.  (This was one of those things I never really understood, but had to accept to buy into the story.).

Noah has always been attracted to Juliet, but never breached any ground out of respect for the General.  But now Noah finds himself fighting the attraction more all the time. He has taken lots of lovers over the years to help him keep his hands off of Juliet but his hope is that one day she will see him in a different light. That day seems to be now.

All of the sudden, Juliet finds her world upside down.  She is still grieving for Wayne, yet she is ready to start her life again.  She finds that Noah is a hunk.  She notices his biceps and his legs and well…you get the idea. She also has just discovered that she may have two sisters.  Nikki Carmichael and Cassandra Riley have just confronted Juliet with the fact that they share a father who was a sperm donor.  Cassandra discovered the connection and wants the two other ladies to give her permission to seek out their father, who happens to be a surgeon and who has signed up on a web page stating he is willing to be found.  Nikki had her story, and it is clear Cassandra will be next in line for hers.

This story really is about the girls trying to decide how they are going to have a relationship and then Juliet and Noah trying to decide if they can have a relationship.  There is a lot of friendly camaraderie and of course, there is a lot of sex and heat between our two main characters.  Marlys plays a role and even has a side romance with one of Noah’s army buddies.  This relationship gives us details about Marlys’ background and her motivation for feeling the way she does about Juliet.

I really enjoyed the interactions between the sisters and between Noah and Juliet.  At the same time, there were some things to get through that caused some discomfort.  The whole idea that the press would really care about a General’s widow seemed farfetched. The search for the donor was really just a set up for Cassandra’s story.  And there were scenes that seemed a little over the top.  It is a credit to Ridgway that despite these misgivings that I enjoyed the story so much. 

Juliet was a woman who had to find her voice and she wasn’t afraid to use it once she found it.  Noah was a macho soldier type, yet had a lot of inner strength that allowed him to give Juliet the room she needed to grow.  They were good together and this really helped cement the attraction to their romance.

Unravel Me will make you smile and at times, may bring tears.  It is good enough that I will seek out the first novel, How to Knit a Wild Bikini, and will keep my eyes open for Cassandra’s story. 

--Shirley Lyons

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