Reviewed August 11, 2009.
Mira, 2009. 361 pages.
Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street books are like a refreshing break with friends. The books revolve around Lydia Goetz's yarn shop in Seattle, A Good Yarn. As in the other books, in Summer on Blossom Street, we hear the stories of a small group of people who have come together for a knitting class -- and then find their lives knitting together.
In this fifth book of the series, Lydia is starting a class called "Knit to Quit." Alix, a friend who's been with us since the first book, and now a newlywed, is trying to, once again, quit smoking. A new customer signs up -- to help herself quit loving her ex-fiance, who was arrested, for the second time, for solicitation. He still wants her back, and is very persuasive. What's more, her own mother is trying to get her to forgive him and take him back. Also in the class, to make things more interesting, a man signs up, told by his doctor to do activities to lower his blood pressure.
Meanwhile further threads and storylines follow Lydia, who would like to adopt, and Anne Marie Roche, bookstore owner, who recently has adopted. The alternating chapters, telling different people's storylines, keep you interested. I admit, I found myself most interested in Phoebe's story, and I got a tiny bit impatient when there were too many other chapters breaking that part up. But mostly all the stories were intriguing enough to hook me.
These books are wholesome, uplifting, and encouraging, with enough problems hitting the characters that we don't just think they've got it too easy -- but definitely still stories that end up happy. I have decided I want to go back and read the installment I missed, Twenty Wishes, which is the fourth book. I read the third book, Back on Blossom Street, at a time when I wasn't getting many books reviewed. You can get away with reading these books out of order, but it's more fun to read along with the series and watch some of our old friends return, still growing and enjoying life.
Another nice thing about the Blossom Street books is that they each include a knitting pattern, the one the characters knit in the class. I haven't tried any of them out yet, but it adds to the feeling that reading these books is like being in a knitting circle with friends.