Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson
The Strong brothers rally to continue the family knitting shop after the sudden death of their beloved foster mother, Mama Joy, but run into complications. They’ve all got their own commitments, aside from Jesse, who’s reputation is for running after women, not running a business. But the boys have a a secret weapon if they want a chance to keep the family legacy going: shopworker Kerry, who has worked in the store since she was little. Sparks fly between Jesse and Kerry, but will they be enough to ignite the passion within him to actually commit to something?
It had a lot of potential but was just okay in the end.
Honestly, I can remember so little about this book, even though I finished it about three weeks ago, except that I got frustrated.
The set-up was fantastic. Four super hot adult foster brothers united by their love of their foster mother, Mama Joy, who all learned to knit and became successes in their various fields (minus Jesse)? A childhood friend-to-lovers plot line? All about community and knitting and maintaining an independent, family-run business in the heart of Harlem? Yes, yes, and yes!
However, it felt like the majority of the storyline was set-up, which makes sense because there were a lot of things going on: the dynamic between the brothers, grief over the sudden death of a parent, settling that parent’s estate, the knitting community and new knitters, children knitting, relaunching the shop, the ramifications of gentrification in Harlem, Kerry’s teaching career, Jesse’s various flings, Kerry and Jesse’s relationship, and this weird fascination with one girl’s claw-toes. There was just so much that it tried to do and while it could have worked, it spent too much time on the backstory and setting up the plot that when it got around to the plot itself, it kinda just fizzled. The plot didn’t really get moving until about the 75% mark, which felt far too long, in my opinion.
While it does take a while to completely revamp and relaunch a business, it really felt like the plot dragged, and the sparks between Jesse and Kerry didn’t really ignite. She had her own passions and desires outside the shop, and he called her Kerry-Girl for 85% of the book, which, honestly, is a real attraction killer. Another killer was Jesse’s constant objectification of Kerry. Yes yes, this is a contemporary romance, but we are not in 2008. I don’t need anyone’s lips (or other body parts, let’s be real) compared to peaches or peach skin (I die a little inside every time someone uses the peach emoji to describe their ass 😖).
But when they finally got together it knit together, albeit with a bit too loosely and not quickly enough.
However, this has the makings of a pretty solid series. I feel that it just needs a little tighter editing and more focus on connections (it tried so hard!) to really shine.
Because men who knit?
Hell yes I’m down to read about that.