Picks and Pans Review: The Knitting Circle

updated 02/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Ann Hood

REVIEWED BY ALLISON LYNN

NOVEL

After the worst happens, how does a mother go on? Struggling to cope following the death of her young daughter, author Hood found solace in knitting, in her family (13-year-old son Sam, husband Lorne and 2-year-old Annabelle, whom they adopted from China) and in writing this sentimental yet acutely moving novel. The book also deals with a child's death: Mary Baxter's Stella is felled by meningitis. So immobilized by grief that she can no longer read or write, Mary joins a knitting group in her hometown of Providence, R.I. Each member of the group turns out to have her own sorrowful tale, and the women's tragedies unfurl one by one, like skeins of yarn rolling down a slope. The plot ultimately becomes predictable, but Hood never lets her characters slip into cliché. In heartfelt, unfussy prose, she allows the harsh realities of their hurt to shine through.

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