#CBR11 Bingo: Reader’s Choice (in place of Back to School) (would also work for a Pajiba or Listicle square, as well as Summer Read)
Eveleth “Evvie” (rhymes with ‘chevy’) Drake has packed the car and is about to leave her husband when she gets a phone call that he’s been in a car accident. Before she can make it to the hospital, he is dead. About a year later, everyone thinks Evvie has kept to herself, isolated in her big house, because she’s overcome with grief. She never told anyone that the town’s beloved son, a popular and charming doctor, was in fact an emotionally abusive asshole whom she was in the process of leaving when he died. She doesn’t feel grief, she feels guilty – about all the sympathy almost smothering her. About NOT grieving.
Her best friend Andy, single father of two little girls, is puzzled that the good doctor didn’t seem to have left any life insurance, he knows Evvie is almost broke. He suggests she rents out her downstairs apartment to a childhood friend of his, former baseball pro Dean Tenney, who needs to get away from the media spotlight and could use some relaxing downtime in Maine. Dean used to be a Major League pitcher, but finds himself struck down by the ‘yips’ and can no longer pitch reliably. He’s tried every possible treatment under the sun, and needs to get away from it all to start rethinking his future.
Dean and Evvie make a deal: he won’t ask her about her marriage and late husband, she won’t ask him about baseball. As they become more friendly, that rule rather quickly gets broken, though, and Evvie finds that she can tell Dean, an almost stranger, things that she has never felt comfortable sharing with her dad or Andy. The couple of months Dean was going to stay keep getting extended, and gradually, his and Evvie’s friendship starts evolving into something more, at the same time as some of the secrets Evvie’s been keeping come out and start driving a wedge in the friendship between her and Andy.
While Dean seems to enjoy his time with Evvie and the quiet life in Maine, the rest of his life is back in New York. Evvie claims she is perfectly fine and totally over her former relationship – but can she really fully put her trust in another man after the things her husband put her through?
This book has been on so many ‘Must Read’ lists this year, and I’m assuming that so much of the hype comes from the fact that Linda Holmes is a well-known podcaster and NPR presenter. She also used to write for Television without Pity back in the day (man, I miss some of those recaps!), but to me, she’s a complete unknown. I’m always happy to give a well-reviewed romance a chance, and it didn’t take me long to see why this book has become so popular.
Full review on my blog.