Lydia Hoffman owns the shop on Blossom Street. In the year since it opened, A Good Yarn has thrived--and so has Lydia. A lot of that is due to Brad Goetz. But when Brad's ex-wife reappears, Lydia is suddenly afraid to trust her newfound happiness.
Three women join Lydia's newest class. Elise Beaumont, retired and bitterly divorced, learns that her onetime husband is reentering her life. Bethanne Hamlin is facing the fallout from a much more recent divorce. And Courtney Pulanski is a depressed and overweight teenager, whose grandmother's idea of helping her is to drag her to seniors' swim sessions--and to the knitting class at A Good Yarn.
Macomber revisits the cozy Seattle yarn store of 2004's The Shop on Blossom Street in another heartfelt tale of crafts and camaraderie. After a slow beginning, this sequel clips along satisfyingly, as shop owner Lydia, a cancer survivor, and her no-nonsense sister, Margaret, meet three new and conveniently quite different friends and bond over the complications of life. Overweight, depressed teenager Courtney Pulanski has found herself plopped into a new town for her senior year, living with her grandma while her dad works in Brazil. Bethanne Hamlin, a recent divorcee, and Elise Beaumont, who's been single for years, are both still suffering from their broken marriages. Serving as sounding boards and sources of endless support for each other, the women find friendship and, of course, resolution for their problems (the latter a little too easily). Readers will miss The Shop on Blossom Street's spirited Jacqueline, who plays a minor role here, and a few things-like the character of Elise's ex-husband, Maverick-strain credibility. But the author's trademark warm treatment of the lives of women will satisfy her readers. Despite occasional draughts of treacle and a too-easy denouement, this should be another Macomber bestseller. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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April 01, 2010
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Excerpt from A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber
"Making a sock by hand creates a connection to history; we are offered a glimpse into the lives of knitters who made socks using the same skills and techniques we continue to use today."
--Nancy Bush, author of Folk Socks (1994), Folk Knitting in Estonia (1999) and Knitting on the Road, Socks for the Traveling Knitter (2001), all published by Interweave Press.
Knitting saved my life. It saw me through two lengthy bouts of cancer, a particularly terrifying kind that formed tumors inside my brain and tormented me with indescribable headaches. I experienced pain I could never have imagined before. Cancer destroyed my teen years and my twenties, but I was determined to survive.
I'd just turned sixteen the first time I was diagnosed, and I learned to knit while undergoing chemotherapy. A woman with breast cancer, who had the chemo chair next to mine, used to knit and she's the one who taught me. The chemo was dreadful--not quite as bad as the headaches, but close. Because of knitting, I was able to endure those endless hours of weakness and severe nausea. With two needles and a skein of yarn, I felt I could face whatever I had to. My hair fell out in clumps, but I could weave yarn around a needle and create a stitch; I could follow a pattern and finish a project. I couldn't hold down more than a few bites at a time, but I could knit. I clung to that small sense of accomplishment, treasured it.
Knitting was my salvation--knitting and my father. He lent me the emotional strength to make it through the last bout. I survived but, sadly, Dad didn't. Ironic, isn't it? I lived, but my cancer killed my father.
The death certificate states that he died of a massive heart attack, but I believe otherwise. When the cancer returned, it devastated him even more than me. Mom has never been able to deal with sickness, so the brunt of my care fell to my father. It was Dad who got me through chemotherapy, Dad who argued with the doctors and fought for the very best medical care--Dad who lent me the will to live. Consumed by my own desperate struggle for life, I didn't realize how dear a price my father paid for my recovery. By the time I was officially in remission, Dad's heart simply gave out on him.
After he died, I knew I had to make a choice about what I should do with the rest of my life. I wanted to honor my father in whatever I chose, and that meant I was prepared to take risks. I, Lydia Anne Hoffman, resolved to leave my mark on the world. In retrospect, that sounds rather melodramatic, but a year ago it was exactly how I felt. What, you might ask, did I do that was so life-changing and profound?
I opened a yarn store on Blossom Street in Seattle. That probably won't seem earth-shattering to anyone else, but for me, it was a leap of faith equal to Noah's building the ark without a rain cloud in sight. I had an inheritance from my grandparents and gambled every cent on starting my own business. Me, who's never held down a job for more than a few weeks. Me, who knew next to nothing about finances, profit-and-loss statements or business plans. I sank every dime I had into what I did know, and that was yarn and knitters.
Naturally, I ran into a few problems. At the time, Blossom Street was undergoing a major renovation--in fact, the architect's wife, Jacqueline Donovan, was one of the women in my first knitting class. Jacqueline, Carol and Alix, my original students, remain three of my closest friends to this day. Last summer, when I opened A Good Yarn, the street was closed to traffic. Anyone who managed to find her way to my store then had to put up with constant dust and noise. I refused to let the mess and inconvenience hamper my enthusiasm, and fortunately that was how my clientele felt, too. I was convinced I could make this work.