Rating: 4 / 5
Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over is a warm hug of a story about a lonely widow and the failed baseball player who comes into her quiet, small-town Maine life.
Many thanks to Ballantine Books / Random House for this free book!
Evvie Drake is on her way out the door – literally. She’s packing up her car and leaving her husband once and for all. That is, until she gets a call from the local hospital – he’s died in a car accident.
Now, Evvie is the widow of a man she was leaving. The expectations placed on her by her small town, his family, and her closest friends – to be sad, to grieve, to miss his presence – are burdensome; so much so that she’s essentially holed herself up in her too-big home for the past year.
When former Major League Baseball pitcher Dean Tenney comes to town to escape his spectacular failure as an athlete, he rents Evvie’s apartment and the two become fast friends. Dean is everything that her husband was not – attentive, caring, fun, and supportive. But it’s all too soon, and Evvie was so badly burned by the casual damage her husband inflicted for years.
This is a beautiful story about grieving – and not, about overcoming life’s hurdles and seizing the opportunities that present themselves to you, and – most heavily – about the winding path to true happiness.
Please take caution if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Emotional abuse
Oh, Evvie… I just love you. Holmes so vividly develops characters throughout Evvie Drake Starts Over that you so wish you could know and hug in real life. Evvie is special, but she’s also so normal. She’s insecure, cares deeply about how her town perceives her, and is scared – of change, of the future, of taking chances.
Alongside the fantastic character development, the dialogue is spectacular – quick-witted and full of character. Evvie and Dean’s conversations are to be cherished. Dialogue can easily bog down even the best of stories, but Holmes’ dialogue really elevates this one.
At its core, this story is about a woman giving herself permission to be happy. How special that is – to finally choose happiness. The book radiates that special feeling, like you’re wearing your comfiest sweater and sitting in your favorite spot on the couch – preferably with a fluffy dog.
While it is quite light and lovely, there are moments of seriousness, wherein Evvie must overcome her own tendency to refuse herself joy. Themes of failure, emotional abuse, and starting anew are compelling and thought-provoking, adding depth to this wonderful story.
There is much to be learned from Evvie and her story – be bold, be honest, be happy. As Evvie will attest, that is much easier said than done. If you enjoy atmospheric stories of (light) romance and women coming into their own, you’ll surely love Evvie Drake Starts Over!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on Evvie Drake Starts Over. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!