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The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club (Jo Mackenzie, #1)
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The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club (Jo Mackenzie #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  4,989 Ratings  ·  863 Reviews
For every woman who has ever dreamed of starting over, or being a better mother, or just knitting a really nice scarf . . . When her husband dies in a car crash--not long after announcing he wants a divorce--Jo Mackenzie packs up her two rowdy boys and moves from London to a dilapidated villa in her seaside hometown. There, she takes over her beloved Gran's knitting shop-- ...more
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Hyperion (first published 2007)
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Elizabeth
Mar 31, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
It was ok. Some of the reviews called it profound, but I wouldn't go that far. In spite of the subject matter I didn't find that it had much emotional depth... It was an easy read, which is what I was looking for. The brief jaunt to Venice at Christmastime renewed my desire/intention to visit Venice.
Esther
Dec 27, 2010 Esther rated it did not like it
I picked this book up from a stack of books at my mother-in-laws. I was interested because I hadn't read any books from the new, small genre of knitting club stories/books. My M-I-L hadn't read it yet and thus couldn't warn me that the book had a very slow moving plot that didn't really resolve any of the issues because the book is (heaven forbid) part of a series, was 3x's longer than it needed to be (it would of only been 2x's as long as needed if McNeil hadn't dropped the f-bomb among other c ...more
Bonny
Nov 07, 2009 Bonny rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, knitting
I stumbled upon this book purely by accident, and was very pleasantly surprised. Much of the knitting fiction I've read has felt a bit forced, as if the authors were struggling to specifically write fiction about knitting. Gil McNeil manages to make knitting an integral and interesting part of Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club. I can picture the lovely yarn colors & garments she describes. She manages to make the mess & emotions of everyday life funny and interesting, while por ...more
Amy
I usually don't like the kind of books where a group of women come together over some common interest (books, knitting, or something) and find strength and courage, becoming better people, etc, etc. I was really concerned that this would be one of those books, but it actually wasn't. There's a genre of literature, too, which has become kind of called "knitting fiction" where a women in her 30s-40's has a profound life-changing event, and as she begins to find her way, ends up in a knitting group ...more
Brandie
Oct 19, 2012 Brandie rated it really liked it
once I opened the book, I couldn't put it down! Which means, I was up much too late last night reading LOL! The book is set in England - which I admit threw me off a few times because, well a few words are not known to me! But I quickly got over that - and even at one point told my kids I was quite knackered earlier today (that means tired!). Anyway, Jo MacKenzie is a stay-at-home mom of 2 boys (who quite wear her out which I completely understand) and married to a news reporter who is often awa ...more
Shelli
Apr 15, 2010 Shelli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-trivial
I would never recommend this book in a million years, but I loved it the way I sometimes love other things that are bad for me ... like fries and Costco muffins.

The plot is perfectly paced, and I love the main character. Jo is a decent mom who's trying her best and doing a pretty fine job of it all. She's forgiving and generous, and knows how to pick her battles. We'd be friends in real life.

This book made me all itchy to learn to knit. I taught a friend how to crochet and now she's WAY better a
...more
BooksnWool
This book was funny in that warm, defeated, revenge-of-the-doormat English way and I loved it. The main character would make a great pal. However I frequently wanted to kick her and tell her to stand up for herself: against the local snob (who CARES what a b**** like that thinks or wants), against her terribly-behaved children (tell them NO occasionally, before it's too late), against the memory of her worthless husband, and her incredibly self-centred family members. And she needs to tone down ...more
Ellen
Feb 04, 2010 Ellen rated it did not like it
Shelves: chick-lit
I couldn't even finish this. The main character was constantly complaining (especially about her kids which I have a hard time with). At first I thought it was just situational but then it didn't get any better. I skipped to the end to see how things turned out but it felt like the end felt like it could have been any chapter in the middle.

The writing style bugged me too. First off, there was a lot of swearing. On top of that, she writes in long, run-on sentences. I found myself reading it fast
...more
Jillymom
Nov 29, 2013 Jillymom rated it really liked it
Loved this! I read it third, although it is the first of three. Funny, warm, delightful. Single mom (there is a story there too) with two quirky boys. I love her developing friendships, over a wide spectrum. One thing that doesn't ring true is how she knits up shawls and baby blankets and tea cozies in the twinkling of an eye. And also, she is self-disparaging about her thighs etc but manages to end up shagging some pretty spiffy men. Sigh.
Laura
There’s a very set formula for Knitting Fiction, and this one doesn’t deviate from it much, at least in its premise. Take one woman in her 30s or 40s, add something tragic (e.g., deadly disease, widowhood, etc.), along with one wool shop full of delightful customers (excepting the sulking teenager) and presto! You’ve got a warm and cozy novel full of hugging and learning faster than you can turn a heel.

Where The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club does depart from the typical model is in
...more
Arlene
Oct 25, 2014 Arlene rated it it was ok
Any book that has knitting in the title, gains my attention. While I enjoyed this book, it was slow moving and it took me quite a while to finish it. I liked the premise of the book and the characters were entertaining but I cannot quite pin down why I stuck with this book to the end. I guess I just wanted to find out what happened to the McKnits, Jo and her boys and the various other characters who lived in this seaside town. Let me give you a warning...the ending is not what I expected. No pri ...more
Kara
Mar 30, 2010 Kara rated it liked it
While I had several laugh-out-loud moments while reading this novel, I doubt its story or characters will stick with me very long. It was fun to read and I wanted to know how it would end, but I wouldn't recommend it except as an airplane- or beach-read. Side note: the ease with which some of the knitters go from absolute beginner to sweater-ready struck me as optimistic, but maybe that's just a reflection on my own knitting practice.
Jane
Apr 13, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Predictable, light, fun and frothy. Made me want to start knitting again but spoiled by far too much swearing.
Rachel Lein
Sep 08, 2014 Rachel Lein rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I can't honestly say I would recommend this book to anyone. It seems to be another of quite the list of "chick lit" books aimed at the knitting resurgence that came about from around 2003 or so that seems to have tapered off again in more recent years. The way I see it, books like this were just trying to catch the eye of the knitting crowd (I am a knitter, so they did a good job in that sense, apparently, as I have tried 3 of these kinds of books already), but the trouble with these books is th ...more
Alice
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec Les Tricoteuses du Bord de Mer?
"Toujours à la recherche du livre doudou par excellence, je suis tombée tout à fait par hasard sur celui-ci qui parle de tricot, de nouveau départ et de petite ville balnéaire anglaise."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Jo McKenzie vient de perdre son mari. Ce que tout le monde ne sait pas, c'est qu'il la trompait depuis un an et venait de lui annoncer qu'il la quittait. Incapable de savoir si
...more
Min
Sep 14, 2010 Min rated it liked it
This is the first book in McNeil's series, and I read it only because I stumbled upon the second book in the series (Needles and Pearls) in a bookstore last month.

At the beginning of the book, we find out the Jo and her two sons are moving. Why? Because she's suddenly become a widow and has decided to move to take over her grandmother's wool shop. How did she become a widow? Because the very night that her husband told her he had been cheating on her for a year, he drove off, crashed into a tree
...more
Jennifer Defoy
Apr 19, 2012 Jennifer Defoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
I loved this book, and not just because I'm a knitter. Although that probably helped a little :-)

The knitting group that Jo starts meeting up with was awesome. I felt the camaraderie between the women, even though they were all so different. Much like the knitting group that I used to meet with every week. These women were there for each other no matter what, and were always willing to lend an ear and a hand. They added a bit of drama and quite a bit of comic relief to the story.

I also liked J
...more
loretta
Sep 04, 2015 loretta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a disappointment this book was. I wasn't looking for the next great literary novel, just an enjoyable read. This wasn't it. The premise was interesting and it started out ok but I soon realized it was disintegrating into chick lit. The main character, Jo, was left a single mother with two young children after her husband tells her he's leaving her for another woman then wraps his car around a tree and dies. She moves to a seaside town near her Gram and opens a knitting shop. What ruined thi ...more
Layla
Jul 22, 2012 Layla rated it liked it
A nice, easy read about a new widowed 30 something trying to cope with two school aged boys and a new business.

The novel has a definite sense of place and time which would be appealing to those familiar with the English seaside town. Anglophiles would probably enjoy it.

I did find two aspects of the books to be irritating.

First, the main character is always moaning about being chubby but every second page has her eating cakes, pastries, donuts or cookies and drinking vast amounts of tea. It is o
...more
L.
Mar 04, 2013 L. rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
It was well-written enough but didn't seem to have a purpose. Jo is recovering from the death of her husband, who was about to leave her for another woman (why are they always French?), and is asked to run her grandmother's yarn shop in a small seaside town. Personally, this is my idea of nirvana- yarn shop, English seaside town, you actually know your neighbors, lots of tea. I didn't see the point of the plot. Everything seemed nonchalant. There wasn't even a confrontation with the French mistr ...more
Shellys♥ Journal
Feb 06, 2010 Shellys♥ Journal rated it liked it
Shelves: year-2010
I really enjoyed the characters in this book, the setting (a small Scottish seaside town) and soaking in the British culture. While the characters progressed in their lives to some degrees, there were no overwhelming obstacles overcome, (in my opinion). It just seemed like a period of time cut out of someone's life.

One thing that did bother me was the amount of cursing in the dialog and in the thoughts of the main character. Perhaps another slice of British culture I am unfamiliar with. And may
...more
Rose
May 13, 2009 Rose rated it really liked it
I was torn between 3 and 4 stars for this book. Maybe it needs 3.5 stars. It was funny and the characters were so likable, but it almost tried to do too much. This book could easily be a series though to go back and investigate the characters that felt a bit weak. The ending was right where I was expecting it to go, but again it didn't really feel like an ending - maybe a beginning to another book for this author.
Shelley Giusti
Jun 07, 2009 Shelley Giusti rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes knitting
Recommended to Shelley by: barnes and noble bookstore
I dont remember the date that I started this book but I finished today among others I am reading and it was good. Some of the language threw me off as she is a writer from London and their words arent always the same. But it was good, very heartfelt and touching.
Callie
Jun 29, 2011 Callie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story about life, loss and moving on. I wished the book could have kept on going. Can't wait to read the sequel!
Kerry
Jun 13, 2015 Kerry rated it liked it
3.5 I really liked this, so much more than I was expecting to. Great vacation read!
Diane
Oct 14, 2012 Diane added it
LOVED this book! It is so funny I actually laughed out loud countless times! Highly recommend it!
Karen
Nov 19, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
Re-read. Originally read Jul 21, 2010.
Nadia
Dec 29, 2016 Nadia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an easy, enjoyable read! Ms McNeil does a nice job of telling Jo's story of widowhood, motherhood, beginning a business and loving knitting. It was engaging from the start and my minor complaints would be wishing that she had included more knitting discussions, patterns etc. Everything a novice knitter like myself would enjoy learning. As well, the sudden 'missing' younger son near the finale seemed like a forced editorial decision to create 'tension', which I did not feel was necessary ...more
Margaret
Nov 23, 2016 Margaret rated it liked it
It was ok but it didn't really draw me in - nothing much happened, plot wise. There were a few ups and downs but nothing that left you with any sort of strong feeling, either good or bad. The "knitting club" was an insignificant aspect of the book - it was barely mentioned and doesn't contribute to the plot at all. I'll likely read the follow up books as you never know, they may get better, but so far I'm not impressed.
Nan
Dec 12, 2016 Nan rated it liked it
What could be cozier than a well-written ChickLit book with knitting, excellent food, babies, and a little love (and sex), set in a cozy little English seaside town? Not much, thank you very much.

Perfect book to curl up with a cup of tea, a biscuit and some knitting on a bitterly cold winter day. I've just downloaded the sequel from my library. Now if only my pre-holiday task list wasn't beckoning, too...
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Around the Year i...: Divas Don't Knit, by Gil McNeil 1 12 May 05, 2016 10:21AM  
  • The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society (Sweetgum Knit #1)
  • Knitting
  • Knitting Under the Influence
  • How to Knit a Love Song (Cypress Hollow Yarn, #1)
  • Knit in Comfort
  • Casting Off
  • The Knitting Circle
  • While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, #1)
  • (It's a Purl Thing) (Chicks with Sticks, #1)
  • Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again
  • Casting Spells (Sugar Maple, #1)
  • Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split
  • Spinning Forward
  • A Holiday Yarn (A Seaside Knitters Mystery #4)
  • Unravelled
  • Knit One, Kill Two (A Knitting Mystery, #1)
  • It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons
Gil McNeil is the author of the bestselling The Only Boy for Me, Stand By Your Man, In The Wee Small Hours and most recently Divas Don’t Knit. The Only Boy For Me has been made into a major ITV prime-time drama starring Helen Baxendale and was broadcast in 2007. Gil McNeil has edited five collections of stories with Sarah Brown, and is Director of the charity PiggyBankKids, which supports projects ...more
More about Gil McNeil...

Other Books in the Series

Jo Mackenzie (3 books)
  • Needles and Pearls (Jo Mackenzie, #2)
  • Knit One Pearl One (Jo Mackenzie, #3)

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“It's much easier than I thought it would be."
Most things in knitting are, really.”
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“I hate Earl Grey with a passion. It's like drinking stale perfume...” 11 likes
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