Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson is a Childhood Friends to Lovers / Forced Proximity story set in a knitting store you wish you’d have in your neighborhood!
What I loved most about this book was both the setting as well as the four adoptive brothers. I can’t wait for this series to continue with their stories!
“If you’re looking for an easy charmer, this is the novel for you.” (Shondaland)
When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.
Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans for what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open. His brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop….
Part-time shop employee Kerry Fuller has kept her crush on Jesse a secret. When she overhears his impassioned plea to his brothers to keep the knitting shop open, she volunteers to help. Unlike Jesse, Kerry knows the “knitty-gritty” of the business, and together they make plans to reinvent Strong Knits for a new generation.
But the more time they spend together, the stronger the chemistry builds between them. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe their relationship can last longer than she can knit one, purl two. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her forever and always. After all, real men knit.
Real Men Knit is a slow burn with a lot of focus on developing the store “Strong Knits” and also Kerry’s personal growth.
And I loved hearing Kerry’s story! She tries to find the right balance between a job that would pay the bills and doing what she thinks is important, namely, helping children from her neighborhood. Unfortunately, those two things don’t seem to go together all that well. This is very much a real-world problem many people, me included, are all too familiar with.
She’s the quiet type of heroine. She likes to stay in the background, just being around in the store. She’s considered part of the Strong family, the honorary little sister, because she’s been there for so long. But being seen as the little sister isn’t exactly ideal to turn her unrequited crush on Jesse into something.
I was a little bit worried in the beginning because I don’t particularly enjoy seeing quiet heroines paired up with players. But Jesse didn’t come across like a player at all. He’s a lover! Definitely someone who’s popular with the ladies and spends his time with them, but he was never the typical cocky alpha manwh*re that we all know from other Romance novels.
Nevertheless, I developed much more of a crush on Damien than Jesse. Damien was my kind of hero! (The Grumpy One, haha!) While Kerry started out with a crush on Jesse, he really just wasn’t interested in her initially. And that kind of turned me off of him a little. I prefer a bit more pining and fretting in my heroes.
But I loved the story as a whole! Not only Kerry, but also the relationship between the brothers, and of course the whole knitting theme! While I’m more of a crocheter than a knitter, it’s just so sexy when men know their way around yarn!
This is a very well-written story with a captivating setting that completely drew me in even though the hero wasn’t my favorite. It’s perfect for diving into a world of yarn with a loving community. The jealousy between the brothers was also very entertaining indeed and I LOVED the forced proximity. It’s definitely one of my favorite themes!
Since this is a dual PoV story (Jesse’s and Kerry’s point of view), I would have liked two narrators. It’s a thing of principle. I always prefer two narrators when we hear two people’s stories. That being said, Kaylor Leigh has a wonderfully pleasant voice that I very much enjoyed listening to! Her intonations were absolutely perfect and very captivating. But she doesn’t have quite that big of a range for different character voices (yet) which made dialog a bit difficult to follow at times.
Real Men Knit was a wonderfully relaxing, light story that made me fall in love with these four brothers and I’m looking forward to more stories about the Strong brothers!
Or pick it up on Libro.fm** (The first audiobook is free!)
Related article: Find more Audiobooks by Women of Color in Audible Escape!