Evvie Drake Starts Over,
by Linda Holmes
Publication: Ballentine Books; June 25, 2019
About the book:
In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean’s future.
When he 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. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they’ve damaged, the secrets they’ve kept—but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance—up until the last out.
A joyful, hilarious, and hope-filled debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over will have you cheering for the two most unlikely comebacks of the year—and will leave you wanting more from Linda Holmes.
So, over the past few weeks, I have been diligently working on my aging TBR books from NetGalley. Evvie Drake Starts Over has been on my shelf for the longest and I have absolutely no idea what I was thinking waiting this long to read it. I am truly in awe of this debut novel and the author, Linda Holmes.
There’s no need to repeat the blurb, so I will just dive right into everything I loved about this novel. The protagonist Evvie is completely flawed. However, she is flawed in ways that make her relatable, approachable, and likable. Dean is absolutely flawed himself, but Evvie was more relatable to me than any female protagonist I have read in a while. Evvie did not like her husband. Evvie did not like her life. Yet she’s trapped being a grieving widow. That is until Dean rents out the extra apartment in her house and suddenly she finds herself in a friendship where she can’t help but share the truth. She can’t help but be honest. Even if it’s just bits and pieces at a time.
Dean is humiliated, broken down, and feeling beat up. His entire life quickly changed, but now he has found this connection with Evvie. So, what’s the problem?
Neither of them is in the healthiest place and they aren’t quite sure what to with the fact that they have basically met their soulmates.
Evvie Drake Starts Over is absolutely a romance, but even more than that, it’s about two intelligent and witty adults coming to terms with what is real and not real in their lives. And – don’t get me wrong, I wanted Evvie and Dean together from the first moment they met, but they were amazing friends first that I found completely hilarious and wished I could be sitting around joined in with their conversations. Linda Holmes – you are now officially my queen of male/female witty banter!
This novel doesn’t have a hugely fast-paced plot. There aren’t a lot of twists and turns. This is a character-driven novel dealing with life’s disappointments, fights with friends, people gossiping, a lot of t.v. watching, moving forward, and love.
If you are easily offended by language, then this may not be the book for you. If you require tons of hot and steamy love scenes, then this may not be the book for you. But if you want to read a funny, sad, emotional, and straight-up novel about two imperfect people finding their perfect lives, then this should be your next read. I will be online ordering paperbacks of this for several friends once I finish writing this review. My only regret about reading this book is that I didn’t read it 7 months ago. I cannot wait to see what this talented author does next!
**Thanks to NetGalley and Ballentine Books for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.