How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron. A fantastic, smart romance. Lots of super accurate knitting and fiber detail.
Full disclosure. I have been reading Rachael’s blog for several years. This in no way obliges me to like her book. The fact that her book was awesome obliges me to like it.
Abigail inherits a small cottage on a sheep ranch on the Central California coast from her friend and knitting mentor Eliza. This cottage is smack in the middle of the sheep ranch Cade inherited from his aunt Eliza. Conflict ensues!
The best feature of this book is that the conflict between the hero and heroine is natural. It arises from the characters’ situations and motivations. Often in romance novels the conflict that keeps the two main characters from reaching their happy ending is forced. The misunderstandings are petty or the stakes are too small to justify the level of conflict. The level of conflict and the stakes are just right. The treatment of their relationship is remarkably deft for a first time novelist.
Abigail is thrust into a completely new life at exactly the right time for her to throw herself into it and fight for that possible future. Cade is fighting to maintain the life he has led for years. She welcomes change; he hates the change she represents. Much of the novel is based on their separating the person they have met from what that person represents. We all have to do this all the time, stop interpreting someone through the lens of our experience and prejudices and just taking them as they are (Austen anyone?).
My only criticism is that the end comes on extremely quickly. One moment we are engrossed in the climax of the novel and the next we are in the denouement. I would have liked a more distinct climax for the romantic part of the novel. As it is, it is completely wrapped into the climax of the main subplot.
Besides the excellent conflict, I loved Abigail and her reaction to danger. Cade does not rescue Abigail all the time. He does help her out of a bad situation, but when the chips are down and her life is in danger Abigail is smart and capable. She takes responsibility for her own safety and well being. Just because it is a romance does not mean the heroine is helpless. She is self actualized and competent. There are also no blushing virgins having miraculous orgasms from minimal stimulation here. Abigail is confident in bed the same way she is in her life. It’s a very good romance novel that presents a heroine that is as attractive as the hero is.
Good on ya Rachael, can’t wait for the next one!