How to Raise an Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane
Length: 180 pages
A Knitting Novella
Everything about Jeremy has always been a lie—including his last name. When one grift too many ends in tragedy, Jeremy goes straight. But life’s hard for an ex-con, and Jeremy is down to panhandling and hope when Rance Crawford offers him work at a tiny alpaca farm and fiber mill. Jeremy takes him up on the job, thinking this could be his last chance to be a good man, and meets Aiden, who is growing into a better one.
As Aiden comes of age, Jeremy finds himself desperate to grow up, too, because Aiden starts looking to him for things Jeremy doesn’t know how to give. Being honest is terrifying for a man who’s learned to rabbit at the first sign of conflict—more so when Aiden gives Jeremy a reason to stay that can’t be packed up and carried in a knapsack. When Jeremy’s past comes knocking at their door, can Jeremy trust enough in Aiden and his new home to answer bravely back?
Another sweet story from the Knitting series, Honest Rabbit has more struggle than Fur-Bearing Critters. Of course, this is expected off the bat, as we're being told Jeremy's story (and Aiden's as well), and Jeremy has a much darker past than Ben and Rance. Jeremy is a panicky little rabbit, and he is consistent throughout the story, even when he's maturing. It will be reader dependent on whether this is a good thing or tiresome. I found it well executed, since trauma and life-history don't just vanish once you're in a safe little hutch.
While I enjoyed this novella overall, one of the most interesting elements was that some of the plot points overlap with Rance's story, but obviously we see it from a very different perspective. Rance, for how rough he is, is an honest-to-goodness nice guy. Jeremy and Aiden are both good guys (or getting there), but are more human than Rance in some ways. Rance sees things in black and white, though Ben may loosen him up a little; Jeremy and Aiden are basic humans who sometimes tell white lies or keep secrets. It makes for a very different story.
The plot takes longer to develop, as it covers a larger part of Jeremy's life, but everything comes full circle and wraps up nicely. We get more development for various characters, which really opens up the world of the small town. For beginning knitters, it's nice because we get to hear more about yarn and knitting in simpler terms, although Jeremy obviously has plenty of time to advance through the story (while I didn't get any better!).
I think the only bad thing I have to say about this story is that it didn't grab me as much as Fur-Bearing Critters. I liked the characters, but I wasn't enamored, and while the story is sweet, it isn't as diabetes-inducing as the previous tale, which for some people might just be a good thing!
Be sure to check out my other reviews on my blog.