Back in Yon Olden Dayes of TWoP, I used to waste far too much time reading recaps, and forums, and more recaps. I have to give credit to Miss Alli for helping me discover The Amazing Race, because the truth of the matter is that I started reading her recaps before I started watching the show. And here we are nigh on twenty years later, and in that time I befriended, dated, and married my now-husband, and every year we add two destinations to our wishlist lifelong Amazing Race, and if you kind of squint you can trace that all back to Miss Alli and her obsession with The Arms That Stomped Tokyo.
So, when Linda Holmes (a/k/a Miss Alli) writes a book, and a romcom at that, I am of course going to read it. I don’t read a ton of romance, but when I do, I like it funny and populated with good people who are generally nice to each other — and Evvie Drake Starts Over checks all those boxes.
Evvie Drake is the story of a young-ish widow (I don’t think we ever get a specific age but I got the impression of mid-thirties). About a year after her not-so-dear husband’s death, she is living in a kind of suspended animation, where everything in her life is just barely technically working, but bills are catching up with her. So she takes in a tenant who is himself in need of a restart — a former MLB player whose career ended abruptly in a horrible case of the yips. As you can imagine, they get closer over the course of the book, and they help each other start over.
This may be a weird thing to like about a book, but I kind of appreciated that this was a small story with low stakes. It is worth reading about how one person navigates toward happiness, even if she’s never in danger of dying, or changing the world. There were several conversations in the book between Evvie and her friends that are so lived-in that it feels like Holmes plopped down a tape recorder at brunch one weekend and transcribed a real conversation with a (nicely but not implausibly witty) friend. This is largely a book full of generally nice people who want everyone to be happy and comfortable, and the conflict comes from sources that you see in life but weirdly rarely in books. Two people like each other, but they both have nice lives and nice friends and familiar surroundings … one in Midcoast Maine and one in NYC. That’s not a huge tragedy that makes you weep, but it’s not a situation where both people get 100% wins either.
Anyway this book is like if there was a Hallmark movie with small amounts of swears and boning, and some lines that are funny on purpose. Thumbs up, more please.