Like many of you, I've been eagerly following our own Yarn-a-Go-Go's progress from finished draft to book shelf. I about busted my buttons when the Amazon box arrived with my pre-ordered copy of her debut novel How to Knit a Love Song.
I wonder how many reviews of this book start with "I don't usually read romance novels..." Not only do I not usually read romance novels, I also have never read a fiber-arts themed novel. This was our Rachael, though, and there was no way I would not purchase and read her book. As I don't usually read these genres, I can't compare it to anything, but I don't need to compare it in order to recommend it.
The story is delightful. Abigail inherits a cottage. Fantastic. There's a problem, though. The cottage is smack dab in the middle of Cade's ranch, which he just inherited. Their benefactress, Eliza, bears a loving resemblance to our dearest Elizabeth Zimmerman. I could not help but think of her as I read about Eliza. Imagine the misunderstandings, the little bits of progress, the desire as Cade and Abigail are thrown together while Abigail gets the cottage ready to be usable as her shop and home. Adding complexity to the romance is Abigail's dark past. A man she once thought she loved turned ugly on her, and this opportunity to regain her confidence and joy for life continues to be threatened by him.
One of my favorite aspects of the novel, beside the pacing, which was strong enough to keep me reading late into the night, was the fulness of the characters. I don't read romance novels usually, but there was a time when I read many, many of them. They can be formulaic with flat characters. Rachael's characters are complex. They are good and bad. They are scared and brave. They were, while I read the book, alive. That is no small feat, and one that deserves great credit.
And if a good story with sheep, a sweet dog, lots of fiber, a knitting godmother, a hot guy, a determined woman, and the cottage of your dreams (ocean view, people. Ocean view.) isn't enough to compel you to pick up the novel, then consider this. When you abbreviate the title (which I did when tweeting about it), get a look at it: HTKaLS. If you don't start showering Rachael with requests for a Love Song KAL, I just don't know what to think!