“Real Men Knit,” by Kwana Jackson. Copyright 2020, Harper Collins (336 pages, $16.00).
Kwana Jackson writes with the idea of needing “more diversity in romance” with all of her novels, and with Real Men Knit she doesn’t disappoint. We have the Strong Brothers, all adopted by Mama Joy, most from different backgrounds and ethnicity, who are taken in from the foster system that isn’t always kind to older children. Mama Joy sees the need for the boys to have structure and family, which she provides through motherly love and teaching the boys how to knit in her shop.
When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes, the four brothers, Jesse, Damian, Noah, and Lucas, must decide to keep Strong Knits up and running or sell the business. Kerry Fuller was a girl who sought comfort and belonging at Strong Knits, and together Jesse and Kerry make a go at giving the store a face-lift and reopening to see if the shop can survive without its beloved owner.
During the renovations and teaching Jesse the business, Kerry and Jesse began to explore their friendship and connection that they’ve denied for so long. With Kerry’s love and the lessons Mama Joy instilled in him as he was growing, Jesse learns how to better himself while accepting his shortcomings. Kerry learns to take control of what she wants for her future; whether it’s in her career or finally admitting and taking command of her feelings for Jesse Strong.
One thing I loved about this book is that Jackson wasn’t afraid to write her male characters as vulnerable. She also allows her male characters growth and acceptance in themselves and learning opportunities from their situations. Her biggest example is having strong, “manly” men who are comfortable doing something that isn’t normally “masculine”, like knitting. These characters are not at all ashamed of their hobby and skill.
Kayleigh Dyer is a Library Technical Processing Assistant at May Memorial Library. You may contact her at email@example.com.