This was one of my favorite books of the year, so naturally I have waited until there is only one full day left in 2019 before writing my review. Evvie Drake is not going to be a five star book for everyone, but it hit so many of my buttons. I knew I was going to like it, but I don’t think I quite realized how much until I was already in it.
Our main character is Eveleth “Evvie” Drake, whose husband dies on page one of this book. What nobody knows is that on the day that he died, she was leaving him. Her bags were in the car when she received the phone call. The town thinks she’s deep in mourning, but her emotional state is so much more complex than that. Her best friend Andy invites his childhood friend Dean Tenney to stay with them in Maine, and has the idea for him to live in the apartment built onto the side of Evvie’s house. She’d get extra income to help with her bills, and he’d get a quiet place out of the spotlight to rebuild his life. Dean was a Major League ball player, a famous and talented one, but now he has the yips and his career is over.
I was hoping this would be the case, but Linda Holmes can write! And not just in a way that gets the story across. There were several points where she wrote a line and it stopped my reading progress so my brain could mull over what I’d just read. That doesn’t happen very often with me! She is also very good at all the other things published authors should be good at: character dynamics, pacing, dialogue, narrative description. This honestly did not read like a first book to me.
And I don’t know if I need to say this—my five stars might speak for themselves—but I loved the characters. I loved their inner selves, their growth, and the way they acted with each other. Especially our two main characters, Evvie and Dean, but the supporting characters were great as well. It felt like Evvie and Dean lived in a real world.
One thing I really liked about this book is how adult it felt. And by adult, I don’t mean sex or violence or whatever else those content warnings are implying. I mean, these are grown adults who have the concerns of people on the older end of their thirties, things like failed marriages, the death of someone close to you, a failed career, and the way that friendships can change over the course of your lifetime. Its characters have already lived a fair amount of their lives, had experiences, and there’s a weight that comes with that. Unless something truly traumatic has happened to a young character, it’s hard to get behind, say, someone in their early 20s, having a crisis over their life’s regrets. But someone up past thirty-five? Yes. You can feel that. (Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older and all these stories about younger whippersnappers don’t hit me the way they used to.)
Anyway, all this to say, I will be putting this on my re-read rotation, and I will buy whatever other books Linda Holmes wants to publish.