Poppy feels inadequate and insecure, and certainly not ready for a baby when she finds out a drunken hookup with her ex has resulted in a pregnancy. After considering all her options, Poppy realizes that she not only wants to carry the pregnancy to term, but to raise the baby. At only 22, Poppy feels like she is nowhere near close to having her life together, but she knows she wants this baby. Once the decision is made, a flyer for a stitch n’ bitch knitting club catches her eye, and she joins so she can knit her baby handmade things.
One of the knitting club members, Rhiannon, immediately catches Poppy’s eye, and not only because they’ve met once before. The two women hit it off and soon begin dating. But Rhiannon is clear that while she wants to be with Poppy, she doesn’t want to get too involved in Poppy’s pregnancy. And she doesn’t want to commit to anything long term, even if she’s perfectly happy to admit they are girlfriends.
But the pregnancy is an integral part of Poppy’s current existence. And even though she’s found friends within the knit club and she’s trying hard to respect Rhiannon’s wishes in regards to her baby, her life is spiraling. A flaky ex, an overbearing and judgmental mother, and her own feelings of inadequacy have Poppy constantly doubting herself. And Rhiannon’s distance at certain times isn’t helping. When medical concerns force Poppy to make hard decisions, she ends up having no choice but to stand up for herself and for what she wants, even if it takes her time and introspection to get there.
I’ll be honest and say I jumped on this book as soon as I saw that knitting, which is a passion of mine, was an integral part of the story. And while there is a great deal of knitting speak that to a reader unfamiliar with the world of fiber arts might be less than enjoyable, I did find that aspect amusing and entertaining. The author did a good job of stitching together knitting as a metaphor for Poppy’s life.
From a technical standpoint, this book is good. The writing is solid, the pacing mostly well done, and the characters engaging and interesting. It’s not only the dynamic and adorable differences between the MCs, but the supporting cast as well. Looking at it from a purely analytical view, it’s easy to see this author has talent. However, that being said, this book just didn’t work for me.
Let me start by saying there are definitely some triggers in this book around fat shaming, talk of abortion and miscarriage, problems during pregnancy, and personal inadequacies. The author handles all with a deft hand, but it’s something to be aware of if these are sensitive topics for you.
For the most part, I liked Poppy, who is the narrator of this tale. She’s aware of her own insecurities and has put in work to deal with them. However, she does let them rule a big part of her life, and at one point gets rather whiny. At times Poppy reads older than her stated age, and at times much younger. On the whole, this worked for me as there was a believability to it I liked. But by three quarters of the way through, I was tired of her attitude and wished she’d made more growth and progress sooner than she did. As it was, Poppy’s big epiphany came a little too late for me, though I did appreciate that she was finally believing in herself more and standing up for what she wanted.
This book is told in first person, so we don’t get to know Rhiannon very well at all, and that worked against the character for me. She seems like a great human, and she is supportive of Poppy. Except when she isn’t, and when she ghosts Poppy. Rhiannon, it is eventually revealed, has reasons for this. But for me, it came too little, too late, and Poppy’s forgiveness and understanding came a little too easily. On top of that, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why Rhiannon was getting involved with Poppy when she knew even before they got together that Poppy was newly pregnant. Early on, Poppy and Rhiannon’s chemistry was off the charts and I was definitely invested to start. Sadly, I think if we’d gotten a better insight into Rhiannon much earlier in the story, I would have liked her a great deal more. But as it was, her shining moments of support and her strong backbone weren’t enough to make me like her enough to be behind their romance and their relationship.
We also have an incredibly judgmental and overbearing mother who wants nothing more than to manipulate and control Poppy. For me, I’m very tired of seeing this type of mother in books. But worse than that, she read like a caricature, and the gaslighting the mother employed was somewhat triggering for me as well. On the flipside, the knitting group was full of wonderful characters who, in my opinion, should have had a bigger role. But to be honest, they were my favorite part of the book.
In the end, Poppy’s growth came too late in the story for me and that, combined with Rhiannon’s behavior throughout most of the book, worked against the story for me. I wanted to like this book so much, but the execution fell short for me.