|Here is a story that reads like an epic, draws the reader in and keeps one guessing. Except the whodunit is pretty easy to guess and the reader is left with wondering when the heroine will wake up and smell the roses. Despite that, I liked The Sweethearts’ Knitting Club and enjoyed the hero so much, it made up for the other lacks.
Ten years ago in Twilight, Texas, a couple of sweethearts were developing strong feelings for each other. There were jealousies at play, along with the age-old issue of the haves and have-nots; needless to say, the haves won this one. Flynn Gallagher was the sweetheart girl who was a long-term girlfriend with the school athlete. Beau Trainer was that boy…quarterback of the football team, son of the sheriff and all around great guy. Enter Jesse Calloway. Jesse was the nephew to one of the local citizens, Patsy Calloway. Patsy took in her nephew and tried to help him, but Jesse had been living on the streets and knew nothing but hard living. He joined things, and even got to be the new quarterback of the football team. All that did was make Beau and his friends hate him, which in turn made Jesse act more like a badass. He also fell part way in love with Flynn. But life interfered and Jesse was accused of selling cocaine. He went to prison. For ten years, life went on without him while he kept himself clean with vows to return and prove who had set him up.
Meanwhile, Flynn lived through her mother’s death from cancer, helped to raise her younger siblings and helped keep her dad from his alcoholic ways. The family operated Froggy’s, a local restaurant. But Flynn had promised her mother she would open a knitting store for the women of the town. The town had a sweetheart’s knitting club, with members being those women who had married their high school sweethearts and were now raising their families in Twilight. There were so many, the town legend had grown up around it. The funny part is that Flynn doesn’t know how to knit. Or more accurately, she can’t knit. Her sister fakes it for her, and she and Flynn have hid their secret for years. Flynn has also kept on dating Beau, who is now the town sheriff. She has turned down his proposal of marriage four times, for one reason or another.
The bulk of the story follows Jesse’s return from prison two years early. He buys a building to start his own motorcycle shop and it just happens to be the building Beau was going to buy for Flynn’s knitting store. Jesse is thrilled he beat out Beau, who he always suspected planted the evidence against him. But when he realizes this impacts Flynn, he decides to offer to rent her the upstairs for her store. As they start to realize that there just might be feelings here, odd things start happening. Eyes point to Jesse. Will Jesse be able to prove his innocence again? Will Flynn believe him this time and be able to acknowledge her love? Who is behind all the trouble?
I liked Jesse’s bad boy attitude, yet he had retained his sensitivity and vulnerability. He also retained his loving and caring nature. Prison had hardened him, but had not beaten him down. One could almost hear the hero music when Jesse entered a scene. Flynn was a little wishy-washy and was always worried about what other people thought. She did for others but rarely did for her own needs. She let Beau run over her a little too much and was dense when his faults were plain for all to see. I sometimes wonder if Jesse knew what he was getting, but since he loved her so clearly, I wanted their HEA. It was easy to dislike Beau and root for Jesse because of the characterizations. Having Beau a little more like a man and less like a cartoon character may have made it easier to see why Flynn couldn’t choose between the two.
Overall, The Sweethearts’ Knitting Club was a good tale. It isn’t a classic, but is a story that one can ride for a while just for the enjoyment of Jesse.