Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway
Series: Malibu and Ewe #2
Also in this series: How to Knit a Wild Bikini, Dirty Sexy Knitting
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
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SoCal's newest hotspot isn't a bar or club, it's the beachside knitting shop Malibu & Ewe - the perfect place for L.A.'s hip, young crowd to enjoy good yarn and better gossip....
For the first time in her life, young widow Juilet Weston is facing the world on her ow - or hiding fro mit. But an invitation to Knitters' Night at Malibu & Ewe starts her down a whole new path full of girlfriends, laughter, and independence. And that kind of passion can be contagious...
Who knew knitting could be so sexy?
For years, Noah Smith has worked for the Westons and tried to fight his feelings for Juliet, but her newfound zest for life is turning out to be irresistible. Still, Juliet's convinced the former solider is too young to be anything more than a for-the-moment fling. To show her just how good he could be for her, he'll do anything, even it it means haunting her favorite yarn store and getting in good with her two new best friends. But Juliet's not going to make it easy for Noah to learn how to knit two hearts together...
Unravel Me is the second book in Christie Ridgway‘s Knitters Series. After the first book, How To Knit A Wild Bikini (see my review here), I was really looking forward to this book. Unfortunately I don’t think it quite lived up to my expectations. First, the backblurb is kind of misleading. When the book first started I had a major issue with the heroine. She kept calling herself the “older” woman and referring to the hero as a “young man”. The problem? She was only 4 years older than he was. And at 34 to his 30, it seemed especially ridiculous that she’d go on like she did. Thankfully this only lasted a few chapters before she gave it up.
The second problem, IMO, is that the cover and backblurb are misleading. The books in this series aren’t quick, light reads. They deal with some pretty heavy issues. Unfortunately the blurbs and covers don’t convey that, so I was expecting something different from what I got.
Juliet married the love of her life, who also happened to be 30 years her senior. He was an army general on the fast track to the next presidency and marrying her stalled his career. Then he died of cancer, leaving her ostracized from her peer group as well as from his.
She moves to Malibu with her husband’s helpmate and friend, soldier Noah Smith, where she makes friends with Cassandra and Nikki. Cassandra owns the knit shop Malibu & Ewe and Nikki is a personal chef (she had her story in How To Knit a Wild Bikini), and they’re also harboring a secret – they’re Juliet’s biological sisters. All from the same sperm donor (literally).
Noah has his own agenda. He wants to see Juliet settled – oh, and he’s also crazy attracted to her. As she breaks out of her numb shell and starts embracing life, he does his best to stand by her while still fighting his attraction. When he realizes she’s attracted to him too, though, all bets are off.
I really enjoyed parts of this novel, but other parts just threw me off. For example: I loved watching Juliet come undone. She was so numb and wound so tight after her husband died it was only a matter of time before she shattered. Seeing her break apart and then put herself back together as a woman was wonderful to see. The problem is the way she acted toward Noah during the process. For a 34 year old woman, she acted more like a 20 year old. Somewhat immature and totally unsure of herself. In the beginning that was fine, but the longer she played a push/pull game, the more frustrated I became with her.
Noah is portrayed in the beginning as the “younger” man. Even though he’s 30 and just passed the bar exam I had a hard time thinking of him as anything other than a young soldier. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because trust me, there isn’t. But the way he was written was just…off somehow. Towards the end we see him as a mature man, but I think the focus was so on Juliet and her struggle Noah got left behind.
I don’t think I’m explaining this right. I loved Noah. He was strong, and caring, and he stood by Juliet no matter what. He was her helper and her champion and he was definitely sexy as hell. He just wasn’t portrayed as a mature, career driven man until the end, so I had a hard time reconciling him to that. Does that make sense?
While I loved the relationship between the three women, I really felt like it came about under totally unbelievable circumstances. I didn’t buy their reactions to finding out they were sisters by the same sperm donor, especially since Nikki and Juliet didn’t even know they were from a sperm donor. Other than their initial reaction, though, I loved how they were together. They had a tight bond right from the beginning and the way they bickered back and forth and stood up for and by each other was great. It’s refreshing to see healthy female relationships like that in a novel (as JenB recently pointed out, there aren’t enough).
This was a well done novel and I love that once again Ridgway took on deeper issues. I just didn’t feel it was as good as the first entry. I am very anxious for the next book, however (Dirty Sexy Knitting, June 2009). Cassandra is a great character and Gabe, her surly neighbor, has intrigued me from the beginning.
4 out of 5