School teacher Anna finds herself stressed and bored so she decides to take on crochet classes with Ollie, an army veteran and the owner of the craft shop ‘Darn that yarn’. As Ollie teaches Anna how to crochet, both women soon become friends and slowly discover their mutual attraction. But a jealous ex-boyfriend, their wary offspring and a good dose of self-doubt get in their way to love. Will they have a happily ever after?
This is a debut novel by British author Jenn Matthews featuring main characters in their 50s, both divorced, one a lesbian and the other allegedly straight. As the reader can tell by the cover and the title, crochet is at the center of this story and it’s the facilitator of the relationship between the leads. You don’t need to love crochet to read this book (I personally don’t) but an interest in arts and crafts would be beneficial.
As an avid crocheter herself, Ms. Matthews knows what she’s talking about and the novel is filled with descriptions of techniques and materials for the craft. Personally, I think that the book goes into too many details (crochet or otherwise) that could have been removed to make the pace of the story slightly faster. Having said that, the slow-burn romance suits this type of story and I was pleased to see that the author took her time to develop the mains relationship and the subplots.
The crochet classes environment works well to present the good number of secondary characters and to build the leads relationship. I liked how the author gave hints of their attraction through their body language and the natural sounding dialogues. The author is very cinematographic in her descriptions, she makes it easy for the reader to create a mental picture of the scenes. All the characters, mains or secondary, feel multi-layered and authentic, including Anna’s autistic son. The sex scene is well written in addition to an excellent self-pleasuring scene. One of the best that I’ve read in non-erotica lesfic.
Through and through, this novel has a distinct British feel not only in the use of the language but also in many British references such as the use of tea as a conversation enabler or alcohol as a social lubricant. This helps to establish the tone and setting of the novel, providing authenticity and a credibility to the story.
Overall, a very good slow-burn romance between a couple in their 50s with the unusual setting of a crochet class and an authentic British feel. 4 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.