A Evvie Drake Starts Over
Written by: Linda Holmes
Read by: Julia Whelan & Linda Holmes
9 Hours and 7 Minutes
PRH AUDIO | Imprint: Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Women / Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 25, 2019
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
From the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast comes a heartfelt debut about the unlikely relationship between a young woman who’s lost her husband and a major league pitcher who’s lost his game.
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. https://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/573986/evvie-drake-starts-over/
Julie Whelan give voice to the main character, Evvie, perfectly. Evvie is smart but cowed by her high school sweetheart who turns out to be a bully: Whelan get the shaky timbre of a woman too long lying, afraid and appeasing.
In the same way, Holmes shows us how a person can fall victim to a bully, how easy one learns to lie, to make excuses, to take on the responsibility for the myriad incidents that happen. Sometimes a person won’t even see the abuse as such.
Evvie lives in Downeast Maine, a quiet place, a bit rural, low on traffic and crime. Our long winters make Maine a good place to brood. The insertion of a famous baseball player who has lost his mojo into Maine is perfect. Mainers, especially on the coast, are accustomed to the wealthy and famous living among us. It’s the reporters “from away” who make a fuss.
I think Dean’s problem has a solution. So does Evie. I don’t see a parallel between recovering from abuse and Dean’s issues. I thought the bridge bet\ween the characters, Andy — a friend to both was a little lacking in personality development. We’ve all seen the way things explode between people and how they are restored. Holmes does a good job with the personal relationships. And, important to me, as one who considers Maine her home, Holmes gets Maine right without pushing blueberries and lobsters down my throat.
This is also a clean romance. There’s some sex, but not on the page. And, there’s some swearing. You could safely share this with anyone who watches cable channels.
This is a feel good story featuring personal growth, acceptance, how much grief is enough, and the power of friendship but with a realistic bent.