By Maasi Saba
My friend Zainab is an avid reader. I think she was the one who got me to start reading again. She is always recommending books to me, and I have enjoyed each and every one. Thanks Zainab! Last time we met, she recommended the author Debbie Macomber. She is a New York Times Bestselling Author and has written many novels and is a multiple award winner. The novels she recommended were from The Blossom Street Series. There are ten novels in this series from what I found on the internet. The first novel, “The Shop of Blossom Street,” is about a fictional little shop in Seattle, Washington, which is owned by a graceful and thoughtful woman named Lydia Hoffman. She owns a yarn shop, and teaches knitting to beginners. Each novel brings in new characters and some of the old characters occasionally show up and bring warmth to the story.
These novels address problems that woman face everyday. Each character is at a different phase in life, and with each other’s help, they are able to resolve their issues. Lydia opened the yarn shop as a dedication to living everyday, especially when she has another cancer scare. Finally living on her own and living an adult healthy life, she is faced with problems about the shop and about love. In her first class, she is teaching three women who are complete opposites than one another. When these four women sit together every week to knit little did they know they would end up sharing their secrets and form a life long bond. Alix Townsend is a video store clerk who is ordered by the courts to knit the baby blanket as part of her community service. Jacqueline Donovon is a wealthy middle aged woman who takes the class to try to make amends with her daughter in law whom she hasn’t gotten off on the right foot with, but is carrying her first grandchild. And Carol Girard who is a successful business woman having infertility problems, but taking the class in good faith that it will help her to have a child.
In the second novel, “A Good Yarn,” Lydia is offering a class to knit socks. This novel takes place a year after Lydia opens her shop, and we meet her sister Margaret who is also helping her with the shop. Courtney Pulanski is an overweight high school senior who is still struggling with the death of her mother four years ago. Her grandmother tries to help her settle in by making her take the knitting class and by making her swim in her senior citizen swimming sessions. Bethanne Hamlin is a recent divorcee whose children convince her to join the knitting class as a step towards starting over. Her classmates help her find her confidence and her talent that she so long ago pushed aside to support her husband. We also meet Elise Beaumont. She is a retired librarian who has lost her life savings and is living with her daughter, only to find out that her gambling ex-husband still loves her, and that she feels the same way. All these women are there for different reasons, and bring their own stories which are unique and diverse, but come together in the end making lasting friendships. This series of books, are written with the direct perspective of each character. Debbie really helps bring the reader into each life, their struggles, and their fears. I love reading these books.
I am one of those readers who get’s very sad at the end because I feel I’ve lost a friend. Reading these novels makes me want to go out and buy some yarn and start knitting. But right now, I’ll put it off because it’s just too hot to hold any yard in my hands. I also don’t remember how to knit anymore. The last time I knitted was when I was in the 2nd grade, and my cousin helped me knit a sweater and a skirt for my Barbie. I think almost every novel has the pattern for that particular project included as well. In the stories, Lydia helps her customers knit socks, a baby blanket and prayer shawl. For anyone who enjoys knitting and reading, it’s the perfect match. As the series progresses, the reader really gets to know Lydia, as well as the other characters. The books offer an excellent overall story throughout and any of these books can be read on their own, separate from the rest of the series.
Here is a list of the books from this series.
The Blossom Street Series
The Shop on Blossom Street
A Good Yarn
Back on Blossom Street,
Summer on Blossom Street
A Turn in the Road
Blossom Street Brides
P.S. Since books sometimes are printed with 2 titles due to different markets, make sure you read the back carefully so you don’t buy one twice. Because actually, I did that! I didn’t realize it until after I read “Wednesday’s at four,” which is also, “Back on Blossom Street.” One cost me Rs. 15 and the other newer version was much more. Serves me right for just grabbing things off the bookshelf before my kids came back.
P.P.S. Zainab and I were were discussing a new show at the bookshop, when she told me that the show was based on books by the same author, Debbie Macomber. The show is called Cedar Cove, and produced by the Hallmark Channel. It stars Andie MacDowell and Dylan Neal and it is a nice, decent show. Check it out.