For legions of readers awaiting a reunion with their friends from the best - selling novel The Friday Night Knitting Club, novelist Kate Jacobs' warmhearted sequel, Knit Two, is certain to be a cozy companion on a blustery winter night. While readers familiar with the novel's predecessor will have a deeper understanding of the characters' eclectic personal histories, Jacobs does her best to beckon newcomers into the fold.

Five years have passed since the death of Georgia Walker, the owner of yarn store Walker and Daughter on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Now, the grieving survivors find the fragile ties of their friendships are unraveling. Darwin, who had previously struggled with infertility problems, has recently given birth to twins, but her best friend, Lucie, a single parent, reacts with jealousy, not joy. Dakota, Georgia's college-aged daughter, is a strong young woman, working in the yarn shop and excelling at her studies, but still overwhelmed with the loss of her mother, and struggling to forge a parental bond with her formerly estranged father. Of course, the ever - poised and lovely Catherine, a successful businesswoman, still appears to be perpetually unlucky in love, with her already battered heart once again crushed by rejection.

When a series of unlikely circumstances finds the women crossing paths on a holiday in Italy, old wounds are healed and amore prevails. While readers might be disappointed to find that two other members of the club, K.C. and Peri, don't get more than an occasional anecdote, Jacobs' nuanced, honest portrayal of the group's senior matriarch, Anita, is a delight. Elder love is a subject rarely explored in popular fiction, and in Knit Two, Jacobs captures the bittersweet surprise of late - in - life romance. In addition to providing a recipe for maple apple muffins, a favorite of the knitting clan, Jacobs has embroidered Knit Two with snippets of sage advice applicable to both knitting and life: "You know enough now that you don't just have to follow someone else's pattern."

Karen Ann Cullotta is a freelance writer and journalism instructor in Chicago.

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