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Evvie Drake Starts Over
Cover of Evvie Drake Starts Over
Evvie Drake Starts Over
A Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today • "Everything a romantic comedy should be: witty, relatable, and a little complicated."—PeopleA heartfelt...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today • "Everything a romantic comedy should be: witty, relatable, and a little complicated."—PeopleA heartfelt...
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Description-

  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today"Everything a romantic comedy should be: witty, relatable, and a little complicated."—People
    A heartfelt debut about the unlikely relationship between a young woman who's lost her husband and a major league pitcher who's lost his game.

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR
    In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth "Evvie" Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband's death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn't correct them.
    Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy's childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the "yips": he can't throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can't figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean's future.
    When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie's house, the two make a deal: Dean won't ask about Evvie's late husband, and Evvie won't ask about Dean's baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they've damaged, the secrets they've kept—but in life, as in baseball, there's always a chance—up until the last out.
    A joyful, hilarious, and hope-filled debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over will have you cheering for the two most unlikely comebacks of the year—and will leave you wanting more from Linda Holmes.
    Praise for Evvie Drake Starts Over
    "A quirky, sweet, and splendid story of a woman coming into her own."—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six
    "Effortlessly enjoyable . . . [a] pitch-perfect . . . adult love story that is as romantic as it is real."USA Today
    "Charming, hopeful, and gently romantic . . . Evvie Drake is great company."—Rainbow Rowell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park

Excerpts-

  • From the book One

    Evvie lay awake on the floor in the dark. More specifically, on the floor of the empty little apartment that jutted awkwardly from the back of her house into the yard. She was there because, upstairs in her own bed, she'd had another dream where Tim was still alive.

    Evvie's Scandinavian grandmother had claimed that young women dream about the husbands they want, old women dream about the husbands they wanted, and only the luckiest women, for a moment in the middle, dream about the husbands they've got. But even accounting for the narrow ambitions this formulation allowed, Evvie's dreams about Tim were not what her nana had in mind.

    He was always angry at her for leaving. Do you see what happened? he would say, again and again. He'd felt so close this time that she'd dreamed his cinnamon-­gum breath and the little vein on his forehead, and she was afraid if she turned over and went back to sleep, he'd still be there. So she'd thrown off the blankets and made her way down to the first floor of the house that had always been too big and was much too big now. Descending the wide curved staircase still felt like transgressing, like sneaking down to the front desk of a hotel late at night to ask for extra towels. She'd stopped in the kitchen to put on a pot of water for tea, come directly into the apartment, and stretched out on her back to wait.

    When they'd first bought the house—­when he'd first bought the house—­they'd planned to rent out the apartment. But they never got around to it, so Evvie had painted it her favorite shade of peacock blue and used it like a treehouse: KEEP OUT. It was still her favorite place in the house and would remain so, unless Tim's ghost started haunting it just to say he'd noticed a few little bubbles in the paint, and it would really look better if she did it over.

    Nice, she'd thought to herself when that thought first intruded. Welcome to Maine's most ghoulish comedy club. Here is a little joke about how my husband's ghost is kind of an asshole. And about how I am a monster.

    It was a little after four in the morning. Flat on her back in her T-­shirt and boxers, she took rhythmic breaths, trying to slow the pounding in her temples and belly and wrists. The house felt empty of air and was totally silent except for the clock that had ticked out pick-­a-­pick-­a for thirty-­five years, first in her parents' kitchen and now in hers. In the dark apartment, she felt so little of anything, except the prickle of the carpet on her skin, that it was like not being anywhere at all. It was like lying directly on top of the earth.

    Evvie thought from time to time about moving in here. Someone else could have the house, that big kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs, the carved banister and the slick staircase where she'd once slipped and gotten a deep purple bruise on her hip. She could live here, stretched out on her back in the dark, thinking all her worst thoughts, eating peanut butter sandwiches and listening to the radio like the power was out forever.

    The kettle whistled from the kitchen, so she stood and went to turn it off. She took down one of the two public-­radio fundraising mugs from the cabinet, leaving behind the one with the thin coat of dust on its upturned bottom. The tag on her chamomile teabag said, There is no trouble that a good cup of tea can't solve. It sounded like what a gentleman on Downton Abbey would say right before his wife got an impacted tooth and elegantly perished in bed.

    Blowing ripples in her tea, Evvie went into the living room where there was somewhere to sit and curled up on the deep-­green love seat. There was...

About the Author-

  • Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for National Public Radio and the host of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which has also held sold-out live shows in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and elsewhere. She appears regularly on NPR's radio shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Before NPR, she wrote for New York magazine online and for TV Guide, as well as for the influential website Television Without Pity. In her free time, she watches far too many romantic comedies, bakes bread, watches her nephews get taller, and recently knitted her first hat.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2019

    Host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Holmes tosses out a debut featuring a recently widowed young woman named Eveleth "Evvie" Drake, who remains a recluse in her small Maine town until former major league baseball pitcher Dean Tenney--childhood buddy of Evvie's best friend Andy--moves into the apartment at the back of Evvie's house.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2019
    A widow and a former baseball player try to start over after life throws them some surprises in Pop Culture Happy Hour podcaster Holmes' debut.As far as everyone in her small town knows, Evvie Drake is a grieving widow. Her husband died in a car accident, and she's been living all alone in their big house, rarely venturing out except to get breakfast with her best friend, Andy. But what no one--not even Andy or Evvie's father--knows is that her husband was emotionally abusive, and she was planning to leave him on the night of his death. When Andy suggests that his old friend, former baseball player Dean Tenney, move in to the apartment attached to Evvie's house, she agrees. Much like Evvie, Dean's life hasn't turned out the way he wanted it to. After pitching for years, he's struggling with "the yips"--he's unable to pitch for reasons that neither he nor any professionals can figure out. Evvie and Dean are both mourning their old lives, for very different reasons, and the two of them quickly become friends--and then, slowly, something more than friends. Holmes writes with an easy warmth about kind people who are trying their best but messing things up anyway. Characters speak to each other with natural but hilarious dialogue, making their conversations a joy to read. Refreshingly, Evvie and Dean's relationship hurdles come about because they're adults with complex lives and baggage, not because of easily fixed miscommunications. Although their romance is often front and center, there are many other emotionally affecting storylines, chief among them the changing friendship between Andy and Evvie and Evvie's need to stand up to her family.A warm and lovely romance, perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell and Louise Miller.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 29, 2019
    Holmes’s debut charms, as a young widow and a former Major League pitcher learn to begin again. Evvie Drake has spent her whole life in Calcasset, Maine, and doesn’t feel as sad about her widowhood as she believe she should—possibly because she was packing up to leave her husband when she got the call about his deadly car accident. Then Dean Tenney, a former New York Yankees pitcher who has inexplicably lost his amazing pitching ability, comes to Maine to retreat from the media, and rents the apartment in Evvie’s house. Evvie and Dean grow closer, with the agreement that they not discuss her husband or his failed baseball trajectory. When Dean gets an opportunity to revamp his career with Evvie’s support, and she reveals some of the details of her difficult marriage to him, they develop trust and sparks ignite between them. But the future of their relationship depends on their ability to communicate and confide in one another. Believable, flawed characters are at the heart of this novel. At times deeply emotional yet sometimes extremely humorous, This is a satisfying crowd-pleaser. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from April 1, 2019
    The host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour introduces an appealing character in Evvie Drake, a recent widow living in small-town coastal Maine. Everyone assumes they understand why she has all but locked herself in her house, but even her best friend, Andy, doesn't know the truth. When Evvie agrees to rent her spare room to Andy's friend Dean, she discovers she is not the only one who's trying to hide from the world. Dean is a former Major League baseball star who's lost his ability to pitch and doesn't want to talk about it any more than Evvie wants to talk about her dead husband. Fighting her way through her guilt and fears won't be easy, but with help from Dean and her close-knit community, Evvie Drake might just make it to the other side. The charm of Holmes' novel comes not only from a genuine friendship turned sweet romance between Evvie and Dean but also from watching amiable Evvie stumble through the process of finding herself. A warm and funny book that will captivate fans of Abbi Waxman and Taylor Jenkins Reid.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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