Kwana Jackson comes to the blog today with a story of family, responsibility and legacy in
Real Men Knit
Strong Knits in Harlem has met a crossroads, the founder Mama Joy has passed, and her four sons are torn about the future of the shop. Adding more interest to the story, all four boys were fostered and later adopted by Mama Joy, and only one, Jesse, wants to keep the shop open. Starting from that simple premise, the story looks like things will move smoothly from introduction to romance, but there is plenty of backstory for all of the characters that we are given before we actually move into the developing relationship between Jesse and Kerry, a childhood friend and part-time worker at the shop, is allowed to develop.
Despite the story being set in the four walls of a knitting shop, and the shop being a staple in the neighborhood, there’s not a ton of knitting going on. We have issues and plenty of internal dialogue, backstories, grief and the reputation of Jesse as a ladies’ man. It was a slow start with large amounts of information dumped, much of it rather tragic as all the Strong men went through the gamut of foster care. But, while the information provided background, it didn’t allow the characters to step forward and engage, with the exception of Jesse. He was intriguing from the start, even with the large info dump, and his determination to keep the shop open and do Mama Joy proud was engaging and intriguing.
Romance is slow to develop but creates major pacing issues once the ‘fact’ is established, and the pacing throughout the story was uneven, again I believe, owing to the info dump at the start. I would have liked to have a bit more development in the characterization of the other three brothers, perhaps bringing their dialogue to a point where it would have felt more natural to share a bit of their backstory – but without that, they felt rather wooden and one-dimensional. Surprisingly, the writing flow and lyricism was solid enough to overcome these hiccups in construction, and it does appear that this was the first book in a series about the Strong brothers and their lives after their adoptive mother’s death.
Title: Real Men Knit
Author: Kwana Jackson
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Romantic Elements
Published by: Berkley
Published on: 19 May, 2020
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 52 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.
Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans for what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open. His brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop….
Part-time shop employee Kerry Fuller has kept her crush on Jesse a secret. When she overhears his impassioned plea to his brothers to keep the knitting shop open, she volunteers to help. Unlike Jesse, Kerry knows the “knitty-gritty” of the business, and together they make plans to reinvent Strong Knits for a new generation.
But the more time they spend together, the stronger the chemistry builds between them. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe their relationship can last longer than she can knit one, purl two. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her forever and always. After all, real men knit.
A copy of this title was provided via for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.