Evvie Drake Starts Over
By Linda Holmes
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Number of pages: 304
Source: ARC from Net Galley
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 5/29/19 to 5/30/19
In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.
Full disclosure, I have been listening to Linda Holmes on her Pop Culture Happy Hour (PCHH) podcast for many, many years. I’ve always appreciated the way she stands up for and lauds the romance genre, be it books, television shows, or Hallmark movies. So of course, I’ve been beyond curious to read her book since I found out she was being published. When I requested an ARC of this one, I really thought it was a long shot. I was elated to be approved for an ARC and couldn’t wait to dive in…while I was also terrified to read this book at the same time. What if it didn’t live up to my expectations? Not only would I be disappointed in a book I was looking forward to, but I’d most likely have a different view of Ms. Holmes, too. I know that’s not fair, but I knew it was a possibility. All this long, rambling paragraph to say I needn’t have worried. This story is amazing!
I immediately fell in love with this author’s writing tone and rhythm. Everything flowed so smoothly and easily while keeping me engaged in the narrative. The characters are all very likable, totally people I would love to be friends with. On top of all of that, the story is interesting. Although we know the gist of Eveleth’s and Dean’s issues, I still found myself enjoying how it all unfolded.
There are small and mundane things that the author adds that, instead of bogging the story down, add to the richness of the writing. Her detail about windshield wipers really spoke to me because it helped me to relate to Evvie and how she grew up. There were also huge things that are uncovered in such a subtle way that you don’t, at first, realize their impact.
So many things are understated and under the radar, which helps this book to sneak up on you with its intensity. I was almost surprised by the depth of my feelings for the situation when things started falling apart more and more for Evvie. The gut-punches and butterflies and tears were expected, but not to the extent that they occurred.
I’m so happy for Ms. Holmes and cannot wait to see what else she may have up her sleeve. I was already a fan, now I’m a super-fan.
** I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in my review are my own and given freely. **