Evvie Drake Wins Me Over

“Go now, or you’ll never go, Evvie warned herself.” This is how “Evvie Drake Starts Over” begins, and it doesn’t take long to wallop readers with the news that Evvie’s much revered and secretly not-so-nice doctor husband has died in a car crash. His death coincides with Evvie sitting in her own car, bags packed, ready to leave him, and her best friend, Andy, behind. Can Evvie keep on pretending she is the grieving widow everyone in her small town assumes she is?

Cue washed up major league baseball pitcher, Dean Tenney, Andy’s good friend who returns to their home town where Evvie has an apartment in her too large house for rent. Evvie and Dean make a pact: he won’t ask about her dead husband and she won’t ask about Dean’s news-making case of the “yips,” which prevents him from continuing along his celebrity lifestyle.

I thought I was reading a particularly well written piece of literature. To my delight, it became more of a romantic comedy: in that not-too-funny and romance-at-a-minimum kind of way. The literature/romance mash-up kept me guessing until the end. Will Dean and Evvie end up together? Or will this book end more tragically than it began? The answer is somewhere in the middle, and manages to strike a balance that resonates.

Although not laugh-out-loud funny, author Linda Holmes writes with a witty flair that allowed me to smile on every page, even as February in Ottawa, dark and snowy, lumbered by. There were many passages I read more than once, just to relive the precision of Holmes’s pen. For example:

“She hadn’t yet turned to ‘anti-aging,’ but she figured ‘revitalizing’ was for over thirty and under forty, ‘anti-aging’ was for forty and under seventy, and then when you were seventy, you just told everybody to fuck off.”

If you’re looking for a book to get you through a few more weeks of winter; one that’s not too serious and not too funny, dive into “Evvie Drake Starts Over,” by Linda Holmes, while the groundhogs wait out the spring. It certainly tops my list of books I read this month!

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