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The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love Paperback – 1 Jun 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400073952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400073955
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,528,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Calgary on 15 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I liked this book because it was well crafted, well written and told a great story. I've had my share of purchasing books lately that were in desperate need of an editor. Not this one. Definitely worth your money!!

Readers meet a small group of women who make time to attend a reading/knitting club once a month and to read the book as well as knit something in the stitch of the month picked to complement the month's book. I agree with previous reviewers, author Beth Patillo is particularly talented in weaving a great ensemble story that highlights doesn't focus solely on one character but instead tells a great story involving the full ensemble.

And, none of the women are caricatures - each is a complete person living a full and very busy life. No one is slotted to be the ditzy one or anything that shallow. Instead each has her plate full managing her life, family responsibilities and dealing with economic realities of today's market. None of the women have a perfect life, instead each is struggling with her own setback and undergoes a measure of personal growth. Even the course of true love doesn't run smooth but requires the women to grow and learn.

I found a few chuckles -- it was enjoyable reading.

Caution: I would hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone who is still grieving the loss of someone close to them. Three of the six women were dealing with the aftermath of death of a family member so this might be a pass if you are in similar situation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Great Light Reading that Women Will Really Enjoy 29 Jun. 2009
By FaithfulReader.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The head of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is Eugenie Carson, the town librarian and wife of Paul, Pastor of Sweetgum Christian Church. Eugenie and Paul have recently married after his wife of several decades passed away from cancer. The other ladies of the Knit Lit Society are Merry, mother of four and wife of a local lawyer; Camille, the 24-year-old owner of a dress shop in town, grieving the recent loss of her mother; Esther, a widow in her 50s under financial duress; Hannah, a 15-year-old who was taken in by Eugenie and Paul when her mother left; and Maria, the newest member who works at the family's near-obsolete five-and-dime store downtown. These ladies are readers and knitters, some more than others, but they gather to discuss books and to gain perspectives from the connection of the group.

The theme Eugenie has chosen for discussions is classic romance, and the women of the group are assigned to read romantic pieces like ROMEO AND JULIET, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, SONG OF SOLOMON and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, along with corresponding knitting patterns. Eugenie asks each one of them to define love, and they do so in their own way and discuss ideas as a group. Naturally, their perspectives about love change with experiences each one of them goes through over the weeks between meetings.

Eugenie is trying very hard to be a loving guardian to Hannah and faces new pressures of being a pastor's wife, with one gossipy woman giving her a hard time about not being "Christian enough." Merry is trying to support her husband and manage motherhood while going back to work for the first time since her children were born. Camille is struggling with her desires to leave Sweetgum to go to college and hooking up with a past love who has just moved back to town. Esther has realized the necessity of major life changes because of her recent financial situation, and when she hits a dog on the road, she finds a new friend who might just be the love of her life. Hannah is trying to find stability and acceptance and falls in love with her closest childhood friend. Maria faces the sale of her family's farm after the death of her father and meets an intriguing new man.

THE SWEETGUM LADIES KNIT FOR LOVE is great light reading that women will really enjoy. All the characters are very likable and have unique perspectives and desires. One of the scoops in the book that I really enjoyed was that of Eugenie and the town gossip, Hazel, who likes to spend all her time dealing out judgment and harassing Eugenie that she isn't "Christian enough" to belong or to be married to the pastor. Eugenie responds by telling Hazel that she has a right to keep her relationship with God private and that it doesn't fall within ethical standards to deal out judgment.

Although the novel isn't generally deep or thought-provoking, its message is an important one, about being a good person and learning to find love in your own way.

--- Reviewed by Melanie Smith
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Light and predictable, but entertaining. 27 Aug. 2009
By Holly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Picking up where the first novel left off, we again meet The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society: a group of women get together once a month to talk about the latest book they've read for the book club and show off the latest knitting project. It sounds so good and, relatively speaking, it is. Prickly librarian Eugenie has married her youthful sweetheart, now a widowed pastor and finds herself trying to find her place in his life and church. Esther is newly widowed with a potential younger suitor. Hannah finds first love and heartbreak in high school. Merry struggles with returning to work and Camille tries to find her place in the world. Newest addition, Maria, tries to find a new life and home for her family.

I'm not sure what it is about this series that doesn't quite do it for me. The premise sounds so promising, but like the first one, it sort of falls flat. The women here are more likeable, even the prickly Eugenie and Esther. But, it's completely predictable. Eugenie chooses "Great Love Stories in Literature" for the group's reading list and as the chapters unfold, we find the inevitable comparisons: Maria and James are Elizabeth and Darcy; Hannah can relate to Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet; Camille can sympathize with Scarlett O'Hara and her desire to put her own needs before everyone else's...

There was a bit more depth to it and the characters seemed to interact more than in the first one. Here, they actually seemed more like friends. Two missing parts stand out to me: we never really do find out why Camille always turned down Dante in high school, even though she liked him and the bit about Esther's first child was just tossed in without any subsequent explanation, even though it seemed significant to her.

It's very light Christian and the faith of these women isn't in the forefront of their lives, it's more of an afterthought.

Still, it's a light, entertaining read and I did enjoy it more than the first one. While reading the first book adds a bit of history, each stands alone well. I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great ensemble book! 29 Aug. 2009
By Janna R. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It takes a special gift to be able to bring a group of 6 special gals to my attention and then have them equally share in the storyline without any one of them stealing the spotlight. I think ensemble books are incredibly hard to write, generally one character takes the lead while showing or telling what is happening in the lives of the others. Beth Patillo has a true talent for ensemble writing. "Sweetgum Ladies Knit For Love" is book #2 in the Sweetgum Ladies series and while I really enjoyed the first book, this second book was a sheer delight to me. The way she balanced telling about the lives of these 6 ladies who were connected once a month by their book club and knitting group and yet by so much more was amazing to me.

Eugenie, the librarian who has finally found her first love again. Esther, who has just lost her first love. Merry, the young wife and mother who only thinks she knows that love is overwhelming. Hannah, the youngest of the group at 13 who has experienced more of life than some of the grown-ups already. Camille, who's life has been all about sacrifice and is now about solitude since the death of her ailing mother. And now the newest member of the group, Maria, who is trying to find where she fits in.

These ladies quickly become old friends and I really wanted to see how everything would play out for them. The ending was beautiful and bittersweet, not everyone gets their lives wrapped up with a red bow (good for Beth!) and yet I was so satisfied at the end. You do not have to enjoy knitting to enjoy this book, a truly pleasureable read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Knit Your Heart Out 18 May 2010
By Deborah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's time to return to Sweetgum and it turns out that the ladies we met previously are still not done with their secrets and relationships. This time the focus of their book choice and knitting is romance. And what better way than to look back on the great romance classics that literature has to offer? Once again, the book is split into different stories of all the women in the group. It might be a little too much for the reader as there are several members but once you are able to keep track of everyone, it becomes much easier.

One topic that gets brought up is the role of the pastor's wife in a church. I totally felt for Eugenie. I hate reading about church members who think they have the right to dictate what role the pastor and his wife should play because they feel that they are the ones who are paying their paycheck. It really makes me angry because they are such hypocrites and honestly they are the very stereotype of Christians that I hate because they think they are better than everyone else. I totally agreed with Eugenie's view of them all the way.

While all the stories of the women are interesting the other one that stuck out most to me was Camille's. She's moved past the unhealthy relationship of the first book (which I didn't feel ever got fully resolved) and is eager to leave the town and further her education. But just when her plans begin to get underway, a blast from the past returns which hinder her plans. I really liked the the relationship Camille had with Dante. First off, this is one of the VERY FEW interracial relationships portrayed in Christian fiction. Second, I don't want to spoil the story but the way their relationship took a turn went in a way I appreciated. I feel sorry for Camille because she has such a jaded view of love due to her past.

My only qualm is that while I liked the selection of books chosen, I feel like these are same romance stories that are always used in books. While there's nothing wrong at all about Pride and Prejudice (and I can totally understand why Pattillo chose that particular Austen book), it might have been nice to stir up the pot and use a different Austen selection. I love Darcy and everything but I don't feel as if the other Austen heroes get enough credit. Also the other choices, while classics that I understand that not everyone might have read, are the typical ones always used. I just would have liked to have seen other books being used. Also Maria's story was EXACTLY P&P so it seemed a bit repetitive.

Still though, I really enjoyed the book as I had the first one. It's a comfort read and I enjoyed the knitting talk mixed with the book talk. I would enjoy being an honorary member of the club (provided someone will help me knit). I really hope there will be another book in the series as I feel that the stories of the characters are not done yet. I also hope for a return of Ruth or at least some news from her. Again a great read and hoping for more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love 27 Aug. 2009
By Nelaine Sanchez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was such a sweet and charming story. Although it is the second in the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society series, it can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel. The characters were very likeable and had enough depth where you could actually see yourself as friends with any of them. Their monthly book club selections seem to be somewhat reminiscent of what they are going through in their own personal romance lives. I loved the details of their small Southern town - it was very easy to visualize - I wanna live there! Although some parts were predictable, the story itself was very engaging and I found that I did not want to put it down. It makes you want to join a book club and work on monthly knitting projects (in my case, I'd have to learn to knit first), but I still found this whole idea very enjoyable. I also want to mention that the book is classified as Christian Fiction, but it is something that believers or non-believers can enjoy. Their meetings do take place at the local church and one of the women is married to the preacher, but that's about as religious as it got. There were a lot of loose ends at the end but I can see where there will definitely be a next installment. Ms. Pattillo's novel is very engrossing and I will definitely be on the lookout for more from her.
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