Debbie Macomber has won the hearts of millions of readers with her moving and inspiring stories. Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love.
Lauren Elliott has waited years for her long-term boyfriend, Todd, to propose, yet he seems more focused on his career than their relationship. When Lauren learns that her younger sister is pregnant before she herself even has an engagement ring, she feels overjoyed yet disheartened. Knowing she can’t put her future on hold, Lauren prepares to make a bold choice—one that leads her to a man she never dreamed she’d meet.
Newly married to her second husband, Max, Bethanne Scranton is blissfully in love. But with Max’s job in California and Bethanne’s in Seattle, their long-distance marriage is becoming difficult to maintain. To complicate matters, Bethanne’s cunning ex will do anything to win her back.
Lydia Goetz, too, is wonderfully happy with her husband, Brad, though lately she worries about the future of A Good Yarn. As she considers how to bring in business, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the punch. Baskets of yarn are mysteriously popping up all over town, with instructions to knit a scarf for charity and bring it into Lydia’s store. Never before has her shop received so much attention, but who hatched this brilliant plan?
As three women’s lives intersect in unexpected ways, Lydia, Lauren, and Bethanne realize that love heals every heart, and the best surprises still lay ahead. (Goodreads)
Reading a Blossom Street novel is a little like watching an episode of your favorite drama or soap opera, but with the guarantee that everything will work out for the best. Each book tells the story of at least one couple’s romance, but most books in the series focus almost equally on the ongoing stories of one or two other long-running characters, with cameo appearances by several others. Everyone’s story is told with Macomber’s trademark warmth and understanding, and there are rarely any real villains (though the occasional “ex” can be pretty unsympathetic.) It all adds up to a comfortable and comforting read.
The main, or rather the new, couple in Blossom Street Brides is Lauren and Rooster. Like almost all Blossom Street heroines, Lauren is a knitter who buys yarn at A Good Yarn. She’s just getting out of a dead-end relationship. Rooster is Max’s friend and business partner; Max and Bethanne featured in an earlier book in the series. Lauren and Rooster appear unsuited, but Rooster’s biker exterior hides a caring heart and the deep courtesy of a gentleman, and despite her sophisticated polish, Lauren values the things that really matter, not surface appearances. The couple’s attraction leans toward instalove, but Macomber pulls it off.
Two other stories get nearly equal page time. The strain of a long-distance marriage is beginning to tell on Max and Bethanne’s relationship, and the machinations of Bethanne’s self-centered ex aren’t helping matters. Meanwhile, yarn shop owner Lydia and her husband Brad are dealing with the twin stresses of Lydia’s mother’s increasing dementia and their adopted daughter’s frequent nightmares. There’s also a small subplot involving the 19-year-old daughter of Lauren’s best friend and employer, Elise.
Like any long-running drama or soap opera, it can be a little tough to jump into the series partway through. Macomber skillfully weaves in all the backstory you need to know, but unless you’ve spent time on Blossom Street before, it may be difficult to care as much about the ongoing characters as you do the focal couple. Since the latter are only “onstage” for about a third to half of Blossom Street Brides, new readers may find themselves a little frustrated at first, but that should fade quickly. Fans, on the other hand, will welcome the chance to spend some quality time with old friends.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Women’s fiction
Series: Blossom Street
Release date: March 25, 2014
Book source: public library