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Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes


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.


I love this book! It is filled with setbacks, new beginnings, humor, and hope. I can’t count how many times I laughed out loud.

She wondered sometimes if they’d ever thought she was good enough for the doctor. For them, she had gone directly from lobsterman’s daughter to doctor’s wife, and because they didn’t know anything, they figured it was a promotion. This was how she knew without a doubt that reputation, in many forms, was bullshit.

Evvie (‘Evvie like Chevy, not Evie like Max Greevey’) is my kind of person. She’s down-to-earth and a great storyteller with heart. After losing her husband who emotionally abused her for years without anyone knowing, she is trying to get on with her life. Her sense of humor and selfless need to help people are wonderful traits, though her best friend Andy says she needs to stop trying to “fix” people.

Dean reached over to rub his right shoulder. “Yeah, make your jokes. I went to eight sports psychologists and two psychiatrists.” He started counting off on his fingers. “I did acupuncture, acupressure, suction cups on my shoulder, and candles in my fucking ears—which, ask me about that sometime. I quit gluten, I quit sugar, I quit sex, I had extra sex, I ate no meat, just meat. I took creative movement classes, I was hypnotized a lot, and I learned how to meditate. That’s the one I still do, by the way.” He looked at Andy, who had his mouth twisted into a perplexed curve. “Where did I lose you? Extra sex?”

Dean has a real challenge with the whole “yips” thing which I had never heard of meaning he, in his case as a star pitcher for the Yankees, cannot throw straight anymore. With the need to get away from the big city he rents out Evvie’s apartment and they quickly become comfortable with each other and find an attraction there. However, both Dean and Evvie need to piece their lives back together on their own first before they can be a couple, and what a wonderful couple they could make.

This is such a heart-warming and delightfully funny read which I cannot recommend enough. If you like a “coming of age” romance, a lot of laughter, and a little drama, give this one a try.  It won’t disappoint. Another top read for 2019.


Evvie Drake Starts Over

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Linda HolmesLinda Holmes is an American author, cultural critic, and podcaster. She currently writes for NPR and hosts their podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour with Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon. She also edits the PCHH blog, which was originally called Monkey See.

Follow Linda on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

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