CBR12 Bingo: “I wish…”
I first saw Evvie Drake Starts Over (2020) by Linda Holmes on the shelf at the library. I was intrigued. I’m a fan of good romance novels and this looked like one I’d enjoy. I’m also using this book for the Cannonball Bingo “I wish” category. Romance novels are wish fulfillment in writing. And I think it’d be nice to live in an idyllic Maine town and fall in love with a professional athlete. I did enjoy this novel. Evvie was a fun character, the romance was nice, and there were some interesting side plots. It’s memorable enough that I still remember much of it, even though I finished reading it weeks ago.
Eveleth (Evvie) Drake lives alone in a large house in Maine. Her husband died in a car accident over a year ago, but she can’t move on. Evvie has a very close, long-term friendship with Andy and his two little girls. She helped him out a lot when his wife left him alone with the kids. One day, Andy asks Evvie if she will rent out the back part of her house to an old friend of his, Dean Tenny. Evvie is a little desperate for money, so she reluctantly agrees.
Dean is a former superstar Major League Baseball pitcher. He recently stopped playing because he has lost his baseball mojo. He just can’t throw like he used to, and he doesn’t know what went wrong. He’s been to doctors, physical therapists, and sports psychologists. Nothing has changed. He’s desperate to get out of the city with its constant judgment and reminders of his failures.
Evvie and Dean get along pretty well from the start. They quickly decide that talking about his baseball career and her husband are off limits. ???SPOILERS??? What the rest of the town doesn’t know about Evvie is that she’s not still broken up about her husband’s death because she misses her husband. Instead she’s broken up because of overwhelming guilt. Evvie’s husband was emotionally abusive, and Evvie had been trying to build up the courage to leave him for quite some time. Evvie had begun to pack her car to finally leave him when she got the call that her husband had been in a bad car accident and was at the hospital. She arrived at the hospital to find her husband dead.
Although I liked Evvie and Dean and their relationship, the most memorable part of the book for me was Evvie’s relationship with her old friend, Andy. They were incredibly close, and had even tried to turn it into something more, but they both realized romance wouldn’t work between them. When Andy starts dating another woman, Evvie feels some jealousy in losing some of the intimacy of their relationship, even though she isn’t interested in dating him herself. At the same time, Andy is deeply hurt by how much Evvie has kept from him about her life.
The one part of the book I didn’t really understand was that Evvie didn’t want to use her husband’s life insurance money. She was struggling financially, but she didn’t feel she deserved it. I could understand if her husband had family that needed or wanted the money. However, her husband’s parents were his only family and they were very well off. There was no way Evvie could give them the money in any way they would understand. So why not use it herself? She was unhappily married to him for years. She deserves it.
Although Evvie Drake Starts Over isn’t my favorite book this year, I thought it was original and entertaining. I liked the characters and enjoyed the story.
You can find all of my reviews on my blog.