Book Review: "The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society" by Beth Pattillo

On the third Friday of each month, Eugenie, Ruth, Esther, Merry, and Camille meet at the Sweetgum Christian Church to enjoy the two things that connect them: a love of knitting and a passion for books. Their camaraderie remains unthreatened until Eugenie, the town librarian, introduces an angry teenager into their midst. Eugenie also gives them a new reading list: the classic novels of girlhood that young Hannah has never read. Little Women. Pollyanna. Heidi. Books that remind the women of the hopes and dreams they have lost along the way.

With each click of their needles, the ladies of the Knit Lit Society unravel their secrets: A shadow from Eugenie’s past haunts the controlled order of her life. Merry’s perfect little family is growing again–but will she continue to feel her identity slip away? Camille dreams of leaving town but is bound by ties of love. And the sisters, Ruth and Esther, must confront a lie they have lived with for over thirty years.

As Hannah is reluctantly stitched into their lives, the women discover the possibility that even in sleepy Sweetgum, Tennessee, they can still be the heroines of their own stories.

I have been getting in a knitting craze lately. Not actual knitting mind you (I can't even thread a needle to save my life) but reading about it in books. I've found that a lot of books use knitting as a way to tie together a group of women and tell their stories. The knitting metaphor is used as a way to combine them all together, otherwise separate they just unravel and get destroyed.

This book features six different female characters - all at different stages in their life. Even though they meet once a month for knitting, reading, and fellowship they all have secrets that they are keeping from each other. Some of the secrets are small, while others will destroy relationships. I found Ruth and Esther's stories fascinating as they deal with a woman who is love with a man who loves her back, but is married to her sister who only wants him for status and money. The whole plot line revolving around them was very intriguing as it was a story that had gone on for years and involved betrayal, deceit and misunderstood intentions. Connected loosely to that tale is Camille's story which involves a secret affair where there can never be true happiness. The other stories are woven together beautifully as well. The only thing I was a bit annoyed at was Merry's daughter and how she treated Hannah. I just got annoyed with her throughout the book. I know that Merry was going through her own problems but I was dismayed that she took forever to notice what was going on between the two girls.

I was a bit worried that some of the stories would end up with cliched story lines but was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected resolutions. This book is not your typical Christian fiction book. Not all the characters are Christian. In fact, even with subtle mentions of faith and church issues, this book is comparable to general market women's contemporary fiction. The characters are intriguing and their stories keep you drawn in. I also love books that feature book clubs and it was fun reading about all the great children's classics. I wish I could be a part of the group, except that I would probably have to get someone to knit my stuff for me or just learn really fast. I couldn't put the book down and am eager to read about the group's next adventures, both in reading and knitting.

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo is published by Waterbrook (2008)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I read the second (I believe) book in this series, Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love, last year and really enjoyed it. It made me want to go back and read this one.


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