Knotted is the first person POV story of Cassie, the almost eighteen year old daughter of divorced parents. Raised between her mother’s home in Pennsylvania and her father’s in England, Cassie is a parentified teen who is shocked to learn her father is going to remarry. Despite her mother having married again pre-novel timeline, the reader has no inkling that she’s bothered with having a stepfather, yet she makes it clear how she feels about her father remarrying.
A transatlantic flight gets her “home” to the land where she was born, but hasn’t lived in many years. An awkward reunion with her father becomes even more awkward when she meets her stepmother-to-be. During her three weeks “across the pond” Cassie finds herself falling in love with her father’s fiancé, fascinated by her new stepmum’s interesting family dynamics, and on a journey to discover herself.
I was intrigued by the storyline as soon as I heard about Knotted. I’m a fan of all things related to family dynamics, I'm a mother, and have a passel of teens, so I was excited to read about Cassie. Right away I found the first person POV to be fun and helped catapult me right into the novel. But also right away, I didn’t care for Cassie.
Her attitude, her inability to make a decision, and the constant challenge to form a complete sentence frustrated me. “Didn’t she…Hasn’t anyone tried to talk to her since all of this happened?” 187 And then I realized several of the characters had trouble forming sentences. “Well I guess it’s her parents mostly. But…they weren’t…you see…” But Cassie’s constant parenting of her parents was over the top. “Leaning back in the seat, I turn to look at him, and wait until he realizes that my eyes are fixed on his face.” 17
I really liked Emmy, the stepmother. She showed a desire to connect with Cassie right from the start and was likeable. Although I didn’t like her name, I could see why the author chose it. Something as youthful as Emmy really portrayed the character’s fullness. She’s young –much younger than the man she’s going to marry. Her homemaking struggles, her cooking experience, and her love for shopping and planning parties really rounded her out. I thought Emmy was the most developed character in the novel.
The story kept me reading even though I was frustrated with Cassie. I enjoy a good love story with a coming of age factor and Knotted has that. One thing stood out to me as I spent time with this unusual family was the potential for so much more.
I would love to read a prequel to this story. Even though I didn’t like Cassie’s personality in Knotted, I think I could like her more if I had a glimpse into the seventeen years before this novel took place. Why does she parent her folks? What caused her mom and dad to split up? Why did her mother take her away from the country where she could have grown up in or near the home of her father? The lack of history made it hard for me to relate to Cassie and I wanted to understand her more. I wanted to like her more.
As I got to the end of the book, things started to change –for me and for Cassie. She was still struggling with sentence structure and unable to make a decision, but there was hope for her and it showed. I don’t want to give anything away, but I really hope there’s a sequel to this novel. I’d love nothing more than to see Cassie blossom and show the world what she’s capable of. If she and her family can find some closure and connection along the way, it’ll be that much better.
This goes to show you don’t have to like the main character to enjoy a good story. I look forward to reading more by Quenby Olson.