The Knitting Circle

By: Ann Hood
Narrated by: Hillary Huber
Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (363 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the spirit of The Joy Luck Club comes this novel about friendship and redemption.

After the sudden loss of Stella, her only child, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island. Seeking a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days, she little realizes that the circle will change her life.

Alice, Scarlet, Lulu, Beth, Harriet, and Ellen welcome Mary into their circle, despite her reluctance to open her heart to them. Each woman teaches Mary a new knitting technique, and, as they do, they reveal to her their own personal stories of loss, love, and hope. Eventually, through the hours they spend knitting and talking together, Mary is able to tell her own story of grief. In doing so, she reclaims her love for her husband, faces the hard truths about her relationship with her mother, and finds the spark of life again.

©2007 Ann Hood (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The strength of the writing is in the painfully realistic portrayal of the stages of mourning." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Almost Relentlessly Dreary

I am sorry to have to say I was quite disappointed in this book. I found it dreary and rather pedestrian. In the circle, every character's story was unbelievably tragic, to the point where they became numbing. There was no light until the very end, and no comic relief at all, unless you count snide comments by the main character about others. I realize a book about a mother mourning her child is not meant to be a chuckle-fest. This is a story about a woman in the grips of what is clearly a severe clinical depression. (In fact, the redemptive power of knitting notwithstanding, I found myself wondering why her friends were not insisting she seek medical help and counseling.) But the biggest problem was that, surprisingly, the main character was extremely unsympathetic. She seemed to react more with annoyance than sadness when people tried to reach out to her. (This was not helped by the fact that the audio narrator gave the character a voice that was both grating and whiny.)

I am giving this book three stars, out of deep respect for what the author clearly went through with her own tragedy, and because the book comes to a positive conclusion eventually. But listeners interested in a well-written, touching knitting "yarn" are better off with "Knitting" by Anne Bartlett and "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Absorbing listening during my daily commute

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It became too formulaic, predictable and preposterous, the way each member of the Circle had her own horrific story to match or top that of the main character .

If you’ve listened to books by Ann Hood before, how does this one compare?

N/A

What does Hillary Huber bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I liked a lot of the voices, especially Scarlett's soothing, tranquil, dreamlike voice and Lulu's youthful, slightly hoarse, city-girl twang.

Do you think The Knitting Circle needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No....please, no....enough over-the-top sad stories!

Any additional comments?

I liked the reminder to all of us that no matter what we might be going through in our own lives, SOMEONE ELSE ALWAYS HAS IT WORSE! A timely reminder to count one's blessings. Also: It inspired me to take up knitting again!!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Tear-jerker, and not in a good way

While Ann Hood has been known in the past as a fine writer of literary fiction, "The Knitting Circle" is a bit too sentimental, predictable, and tends to rely on cliche. The stories told by the women in the knitting circle are very similar to one another and don't really move the story forward. Overall, I was disappointed.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Knitting Review

Touching story that keeps the reader's attention from beginning to end. Reader is excellent as is the entire story told through the eyes of the characters and their individual tragedies.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

a book for Knitters & non-knitters alike

Loved this book! I work with avid knitters and I saw them in this book, it touched me over and over again, so worth your time! Plus, I might just pick up Knitting now.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Knit me pearl me out!!

Terrible. Boring and predictable. A slow, dragging death of a listen. I deeply regret this purchase.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sit 'n knit

A soulful listen for everyone who loves the healing power of knitting. Every character has their own heart-wrenching story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better than expected!

If you could sum up The Knitting Circle in three words, what would they be?

Heartfelt, complex and entertaining

What other book might you compare The Knitting Circle to and why?

I have read Knit one, Kill two which was fun. However, this book is more descriptive, the story more elaborate and characters more interesting. Having chapters with each character's personal story was really great, it really captures me as the reader/listener to envelop myself into the book.

What about Hillary Huber’s performance did you like?

Her use of voice changes was well done. It wasn't drastic, but professionally adjusted to enable us to remember the character and really imagine them physically.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt touched by their stories and as a knitter, I completely agree with the "magic" of knitting and its effect on relaxation, its therapeutic benefits and overall positivity it has on my life.

Any additional comments?

are there more of this series?

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love knitting

This is a good read enhanced by the narration. The stories unravel and provide a beautiful visual for the listener.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Stories of lives...

Beautiful. A reminder of the fact that every individual has a story, and behind ever smile, and every frown a secret is hidden. A particular ode to women on this occasion.

1 person found this helpful