Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil

needlesAs soon as I finished The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club I went to the library to pick up the second one.   #2 did not disappoint. This time there are weddings and babies thrown into the mix and now I am led to believe that if I lived in a little seaside town in England I would see babies wearing knitted shawls (?), tiny cashmere cardigans in cream and butterscotch, wee booties, and the like.  And, in a very Maeve Binchy way, even though it’s 2015 having a baby and going to school would be as if it was 1950.
As with the other Gil McNeil books the content is extremely low-stress. There is no concern over anything particularly terrible happening, nor much will they -won’t they worries either.  There actually are a couple of dramatic events in this one, but even they are easily resolved.
Again there is a ludicrous amount of tea drinking going on and even when they are down on the beach they easily put the kettle on in their beach hut to make a nice cup.  Everyone is “brilliant” or “clever” when they do anything positive, or “silly” when they are naughty.
As I continue my own learn to knit quest, I do cast some doubt on how quickly and easily everyone seems to knit up complicated patterns in these books, but it’s all such a fairy dreamworld, why not? I’ve noticed, too, that McNeil’s books very much are into creating a life for a woman where she has kids, babies, house, business, rich friends, awesome family, all without the burden? hassle? of a husband or man in her life, other than for occasional trysts.

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil

Well. This was just as lovely as A Good Year for Roses, but with the charming addition of knitting. Let’s see if it hits all the cozy elements, shall we?

the main character: Jo, a relatable mum
the children: 2 charming children who are not perfect, but adorably naughty
the best friend: famous television personality, rich, impeccable fashion sense, loves to shop, string of boyfriends
the British setting: a seaside town
the sexy interest: a famous photographer
the added interesting character: a world famous A-list movie star who befriends Jo
the father/husband: conveniently dead after declaring he wanted a divorce
the cozy factor: Jo has inherited a knitting/wool shop, which is also what prompts her to move to the seaside town and gives her a fresh start in her life.

Nothing very dramatic happens, there is literally no suspense, and it is perfect because of it. It is like a long cup of tea, a hot bath, or whatever comfortable relaxing thing soothes you.  I cannot wait to read the others in this series.

A Good Year for the Roses by Gil McNeil

rosesI picked this up last week thinking it would be just right for Christmas week-soft and British, inherited estates, by the sea, etc. I later found out that the reason it was on my to-read list is because my friend ML loved it and described it as a wonderful book in which “absolutely nothing happens.” And I have to agree.  Molly inherits a lovely estate by the sea, on the condition she not sell it and let her dotty old uncle continue to live there (the deceased was her aunt.) Molly’s family has a hotel, but her revolting father and brother are money hungry pompous asses who leave Molly and her mother out of it. Molly and her 3 boys move into the grand old house and begin to make it over to make it a more worthwhile B&B. The star attraction is the humongous rose garden. And that’s basically it. Everyone drinks gallons of tea and cocktails, the house comes with devoted servants, and it’s all just very warm and cozy.  Very little conflict to be resolved. It could have been a bit shorter for my taste given that nothing was happening, but that’s ok.