Book Review | “Evvie Drake Starts Over”

91Q73aHp3PLBy Linda Holmes

A widow and a former baseball player try to start over after life throws them some surprises in Pop Culture Happy Hour podcaster Holmes’ debut. As far as everyone in her small town knows, Evvie Drake is a grieving widow.

Her husband died in a car accident, and she’s been living all alone in their big house, rarely venturing out except to get breakfast with her best friend, Andy.

But what no one—not even Andy or Evvie’s father—knows is that her husband was emotionally abusive, and she was planning to leave him on the night of his death.

When Andy suggests that his old friend, former baseball player Dean Tenney, move into the apartment attached to Evvie’s house, she agrees. Much like Evvie, Dean’s life hasn’t turned out the way he wanted it to.

After pitching for years, he’s struggling with “the yips”—he’s unable to pitch for reasons that neither he nor any professionals can figure out. Evvie and Dean are both mourning their old lives, for very different reasons, and the two of them quickly become friends—and then, slowly, something more than friends.

Holmes writes with an easy warmth about kind people who are trying their best but messing things up anyway. Characters speak to each other with natural but hilarious dialogue, making their conversations a joy to read.

Refreshingly, Evvie and Dean’s relationship hurdles come about because they’re adults with complex lives and baggage, not because of easily fixed miscommunications. Although their romance is often front and center, there are many other emotionally affecting storylines, chief among them the changing friendship between Andy and Evvie and Evvie’s need to stand up to her family.

A warm and lovely romance, perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell and Louise Miller.

Published June 25, 2019
Verdict: Thumbs Up, Buy It
Kirkus Reviews


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