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Evvie Drake Starts Over

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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.

289 pages, Hardcover

First published June 25, 2019

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Linda Holmes

4 books2,548 followers

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5 stars
27,208 (21%)
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3 stars
32,574 (26%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 14,039 reviews
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 122 books155k followers
July 9, 2019
This is a very charming novel. It is a juicy red apple. It is a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. It is, and I mean this in the best possible way, a Hallmark movie, but with richly drawn characters who are imperfect and interesting. Evvie Drake's asshole husband has died but no one knows he was an asshole and so she has to deal with her community's expectations of how she should grieve as she tries to be who every one in her life wants her to be. Or who she thinks they want to be. And then there is Dean, a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Yankees who has come to a small town in Maine to hide from the life he can no longer live. He rents a room from Evvie and they become friends and lots of fun things happen. This is a sweet romance novel. The beginning moves slowly in ways that were frustrating but the payoff was well-earned. I can't wait for the Hallmark movie.
Profile Image for Jenne.
1,086 reviews656 followers
February 13, 2019
A romance about adults acting like adults! They have actual conversations! They fall in love because they REALLY LIKE EACH OTHER! They make mistakes and then apologize! They have nuanced friendships with people of the opposite sex! They help each other, and sometimes it goes wrong! They have complicated relationships with their careers and parents! There is also kissing!
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,008 reviews3,518 followers
August 1, 2019
4.5*
Definitely not your average Rom Com! This is raw, true life! The twist and turns it takes along the journey. The pieces you need to pick up in order to move forward.

Evvie married her high-school sweetheart. On the day she’s planning to take on life in a new direction, her husband is killed in a car accident. With the snap of a finger, Evvie is left to regroup, and somehow find the strength to start over...again. Time for Evvie 3.0

Dean was living the dream. A star pitcher for the New York Yankees. Everything he wished for in life was laid out in front of him. That is until he could no longer throw a strike, quickly finding himself a wash-out. Dean is left searching for answers, trying to find himself, as his dream collapses down around him.

This was a truly heartwarming read. One that I connected to immediately, holding me right to the end. I loved Evvie and felt her profound pain as she dealt with piecing her life back together. The strength she needed to put her past behind her and move on.

There is nothing cliche about this Rom Com. So very authentic, it takes you deeply into the lives of the characters as they gradually discover there is in fact, life after their dreams fall short.

Linda Holmes writes an incredibly captivating book about....well...life! Loved it! Hope you will too!

A wonderful buddy read with Susanne, that took both of us by surprise!

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and Linda Holmes for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
August 28, 2021
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Sadly, I ended up disliking most aspects of this novel. It might appeal to those looking for a light summer read that isn't necessarily funny or moving.

Throughout the novel I had the impression that I was reading an early draft rather than a completed and published version of a book.

➜The story as such seemed incomplete. We have the inciting incident (Dean becomes Evvie's tenant) and then nothing much beyond that happens. It seems they start experiencing romantic feelings for each other during their very first meeting (insta-love, yay) and I never bought into their relationship. They had stilted conversation and their flirting was painful to read (there was this attempt to make their banter 'playful' but it ended up being babyish and completely cringeworthy).

➜The relationship between Evvie and Dean is meant to 'propel' the story...but given how flat these characters are, I had little interest in their 'budding' romance. The whole "let's fix each other" trope was handled in a way that made a lot of their actions seem invasive, controlling, and downright bad (eg. stalking, invasion of privacy). Within a few chapters I found that their personalities were non-existent and that their actual 'character' completely hinged on a trauma (Dean's character can't throw straight anymore while Evvie is keeping a secret about her relationship to her now dead husband).

➜Side characters were rather clichéd. Evvie's best friend happens to be a man and initially I appreciated their platonic relationship so I was disappointed by the way it was portrayed. Other characters were entirely forgettable and bland. Evvie's husband is the classic 'bad/cold guy' who is nice to most people except his wife. I guess that having a not so nuanced character makes it easier for him to seem just 'bad' (making Evvie some sort of sympathetic martyr).

➜It was so boring. The characters and the story had so little to offer. Their conversations were worded in such a way that they offered little clarity (for example Evvie recounts some an event for two pages in a way that made little sense).

An uneventful story + lack of humour + superficial relationships + little emotion...and there you have it: Evvie Drake Starts Over. Maybe readers who can look past the unimaginative writing style will be able to appreciate this more than I did...

Profile Image for emma.
1,788 reviews43.1k followers
August 15, 2022
There are some things books just love to call themselves.

https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...

“WRENCHING,” a book’s front cover will yell, and say it's a quote from like the Delaware Post-Tribune or the Huntington Park Journal or the Winding River Bend Rural Paper. “IMMERSIVE,” shouts a glorified neighborhood book club. “UNPUTDOWNABLE,” according to a woman with a lot of Instagram followers.

I very rarely agree with these influencers or made-up sounding publications. It is an infrequent occurrence that I put down a book and immediately begin referring to it in intense one-word statements.

I did not do anything of the kind upon finishing this book, but there are two Book Marketing’s Greatest Hits terms that I would ascribe to this book:
FUNNY
and
HEARTWARMING.

This was a really good read. So good it cursed my brain and now I will have to live out my days speaking like the faux-Reese Witherspoon who writes her book marketing copy, my words forever taking up precious space that could be devoted to pretty pictures or actual, you know, synopses.

But I’ll try to stop talking about all my irritations with the idea of blurbs and give actual reviewing a try.

I really miss reading this.

It was half feel-good fiction, half-romance, and while I kinda wish it’d been one or the other...I’m not that mad.

Because both halves were - sigh - A DELIGHT. (Lift your curse from me, O The Oprah Magazine!!!)

In another rare occurrence, I liked these characters a lot. I consider it a stroke of luck if I enjoy so much as a single character in any book, so finding one in which I like multiples??? Nothing short of a miracle, my dear boy.

Bottom line: In conclusion, I will henceforth be reading everything Linda Holmes writes, and also please let me live inside this book thank you.

------------
update

raising this rating because i really miss reading this book

------------
pre-review

this did the trick.

review to come

------------
tbr review

i need a book where everything is bad and then they all live happily ever after, and if this book turns out not to be that book i will explode
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,072 reviews38.2k followers
March 16, 2020
It started with three, then moved up to 3.4, then dropped to 3.2 and finally with the ending part score stayed as 3.5 soft, sweet, Hallmark-ish movie vibes with far better characterization and better writing starts rounded up to 4 romantic stars

Mostly I never called myself indecisive. But reviewing and deciding what I’m thinking about this book were really complicated job for me.

I can make honestly my ”it’s not you, it’s me” speech to the book not to hurt its feelings! Because my timing is so wrong to start a new, soft, rom-com. I was not in the mood to read this kind of story. I read so many hard stuffs to digest and I felt like I got used to stomach more meaty, juicy, heavy books even they gave me crumps later. With this book, I decided to start a diet and chose a lighter option, I got hangry and unsatisfied.

I thought to give three stars, too many times. But this made me angry with myself. Because it was not fair to give lower stars to a book when you don’t feel like reading it.

Pros to enjoy this book:

I loved all the characters starting from Evvie, Dean, Andy and of course Monica.
I loved the concept: Evvie wanted to break up from her douchebag husband (everybody thought he was a saint and nobody has seen his ugly face) then nature did its job and he died. So Evvie started to hide herself at the house. Everybody thought she was grieving but she was just hiding.


Then Dean who was Major League Baseball pitcher rented a room from her house. Because he wanted to hide from the world, too. So they turned into a great couple hiders, loners. But as long as they started to connect with each other and got rid of their shields, they understood that they couldn’t hide from each other anymore. The secrets should be told and the barriers should be destroyed. Nobody has to carry all their burdens alone!

As you can imagine, the last parts are a little predictable but still well-crafted and smartly-written.
The characters and good writing captured my attention. Only thing I didn’t like was predictability and some regular Hallmark movie style clichés. Because when I read this book title, I was expecting a more challenging, self-help, inspirational book. These are the reasons, I went back and forth between 3 to 4 stars as if I was taking tours to the kitchen to eat one more spoon of Nutella ( as you can imagine, at least 14 times I went back and forth, great exercise to burn chocolate calories)

I think I should choose to read this book at my holiday time so I can look at the things from healthier and happier perspective (an ideal diet time after heavy thrillers and edgy dramas). So I keep my other rom-coms for upcoming month!

As a summary: Neither I like nor I dislike this book, I stayed in the middle but too be fair it’s better than so many released rom-coms! If you’re looking for well-written, character driven, sweet, relaxing story carries so much hope and humor, this is perfect match for you!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,481 reviews29.8k followers
May 26, 2020
this story is pretty dang cute and i enjoyed reading it but i, for the life of me, cannot think of anything to say about it.

i picked up this up because i was in a particular mood for something light and easy and this book is the epitome of ‘what you see is what you get.’ theres nothing too complicated or surprising - just a quiet, understated story that hits the right spot. which is a good thing if you are a mood reader like me.

again, nothing too remarkable or noteworthy about this, but just your classic story about a girl with life problems meets a boy with life problems and they work through said problems together. cute, funny, and very much enjoyable.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,155 reviews36.3k followers
August 7, 2019
5 Stars

Do you want your HEART STOLEN? Yeah? Then “Evvie Drake Starts Over” is a MUST FREAKING READ!!

Evvie drake is a woman everyone in town feels for - her husband Tim passed away recently and everyone in the town is just devastated, including her father, his parents and her best friend Andy. Everyone simply assumes Evvie feels the same way and Evvie has never said otherwise. The fact is that no one really knows her and they have no idea what her marriage was like. Some things are simply better left unsaid (isn’t that the truth?!).

When her best friend Andy recommends that she rent out an apartment in her house to help a friend of his, Evvie says yes. Dean is a former Professional League Baseball Player. He kinda lost his nerve and lost his game. Now he’s looking for a place to live for a while. It just works. Turns out that they both have a lot to hide.

What could Evvie (a small town gal who no one knows) and Dean (a guy who has had everything he ever wanted) possibly have in common? More than you think. Perhaps thinks sounds like a predictable rom com to you.. yet it's more than that. It’s not a heavy read and yet if you flip the coin, it’s relatable and realistic. The situations the characters find themselves in and the conversations they have are completely real. Life simply happens. Sometimes it's not pretty and sometimes it makes your heart catch. Yeah. I said it. My breath caught and I fell. (Yes.. this is coming from the girl who is not a romantic at heart).

There is something amazing going on in “Evvie Drake Starts Over” my friends and I freaking loved it and yes, I know that not all of my friends did (I’m sorry for that). That said, I loved these characters. Evvie and Dean grabbed my heart and ran with it and it's about time! Love for characters and a storyline doesn’t happen often.. but when it does.. WHOOSH! I’ll take it. It’s like the wind - you can’t see it but you can feel it - and boy did I feel it.

This was a buddy read with Ms. Kaceey. Sharing in this read with her meant a lot. We both loved this book and Evvie and found different parts of this book extremely special. I am so glad that we finally read it (what took us so long? Lol) and that we both loved it so very much!

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group and Linda Holmes for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads on 7.31.19.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,472 reviews19.1k followers
December 26, 2019
Maybe a 2.5 instead of the full 3. This was good in the beginning, but really started to drag as the book went on. I may not have been the right audience for this one because it just did not work for me. Womp.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,443 reviews29.4k followers
July 19, 2019
If you're looking for a book to charm you completely and worm its way into your heart, you don't have to look any further than Linda Holmes' debut novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over . Boy, did I thoroughly enjoy this one!

It's been nearly a year since her husband died in a car accident, and Evvie (like "Chevy," not "Stevie") Drake has spent most of the time holed up in her house, trying to stay out of the public eye. Her husband was a beloved physician in their small Maine town, and she is rarely in the mood to hear everyone's continued condolences and their encouragement that she seems to be holding up well.

Everyone, including her own father and her best friend, Andy, think she spends her days trying to get her grief under control. She's not interested in correcting them and letting them know the truth.

Andy's childhood best friend, Dean Tenney, was a major league baseball pitcher. He was in a few World Series championships and was well known for his pitching skill. Until one day he couldn't pitch anymore. He wasn't injured, he wasn't exhausted, he wasn't ready to be done with baseball—he just couldn't seem to throw straight no matter how hard he tried. And he tried. Everything. But after a while he got tired of the world second-guessing and ridiculing him, so he just walked away.

When Andy proposes that Dean move into the apartment at the back of Evvie's house, it sounds like a good deal for the both of them. Evvie can pick up some extra money since she hasn't been working much over the last year, and Dean can find a quiet place to reset himself, outside the glare of the media. They settle on the perfect deal: Evvie won't ask him anything about baseball, and Dean won't ask her anything about her marriage or her husband.

"The amount of time people who have just met are supposed to look directly at each other, particularly without talking, is a unit that's both very short and very precise. When you exceed it, you get suspicious, or you get threatened, or you get this flicker of accidental intimacy, like you've peeked at the person naked through a shower door."

As the two start to build a friendship, however, those rules start to go out the window. Evvie tries to understand what is keeping Dean from pitching the way he used to, and tries to determine if he really is satisfied with giving it all up. And for his part, Dean begins to realize all of the secrets and emotions that Evvie has kept bottled up for so long regarding her marriage and her relationship with her late husband.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where their relationship might be headed, and of course, there are complications along the way. How do two people who have gotten so used to keeping their lives so private begin to trust in one another, and how do they help each other without pushing too hard? Can a relationship between two people who are just beginning to truly know themselves really succeed?

"Your head is the house you live in, so you have to do the maintenance."

No matter how predictable some of the plot of Evvie Drake Starts Over is, this book is pretty wonderful. I enjoyed these characters, flaws and all, and I found their backstories just as fascinating as the road that Holmes unfurled for them throughout the book. Both Evvie and Dean have had their share of damage and hard-knocks, and it isn't easy to realize that you can't always fight every battle on your own, nor do you have to fight every single battle.

At times the book moved a little slower than I hoped it would, but I still couldn't tear myself away. This book does deal with some serious issues, but it also has a tremendous amount of humor and hope, not to mention a few pretty steamy sex scenes. I wouldn't mind a return visit to Maine, to Evvie and Dean and Andy and Monica.

This book is the perfect solution for you if you've been reading a bunch of heavier books recently. It will make you chuckle and it may even make you tear up with happy tears, but it will definitely give you someone to root for.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,307 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2022
This is a Chick-Lit/Romance. This book is about two people overcoming and moving a very hard stuff in their life, and of course they falling in love with each other. I think this book was well written and a great read. I loved the characters in this book, and the romance in this book is slow moving. Great book.

I won this (kindle Edition) book in a Goodreads Giveaway, but my review was my opinion and only my opinion.

I read it for the second time, and I think it was better the second time. I loved the book the first time I read it, and I really love it the second time. I time this is one of my favorite books I have read so far this year.
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,011 reviews871 followers
August 8, 2019
2.5 rounded up

Evvie Drake Starts Over was not the quirky, funny rom-com I was expecting.
It wasn't deep or touching either.
It wasn't horrible, but, truth be told, it fell flat.
The beginning was promising, it quickly started going down the hill.
I didn't feel much for Evvie or for her love interest, washed-out baseballer, Dean Tenney.
Their chemistry was non-existent.
There were no sexy times, it was all very vanilla, just like the characters.

An easy read and a nice cover are pretty much the only good things I can say about this novel.

Other than that, it was Dullsville by the way of a small town in Maine.
Profile Image for elena ❀  .
254 reviews2,620 followers
April 3, 2021
The widow and the exiled baseball player were road-tripping to fetch a heavy, expensive toy to put in an apartment he didn’t intend to stay in that long. And in an isolated moment in her kitchen, it seemed like an entirely logical thing for them to do.


Evvie Drake rarely leaves her home in Maine. Her neighbors and community members think the grief from her husband's death is keeping her isolated, and Evvie doesn't correct them. She holds a secret that only she knows of her deceased husband, Tim, and is afraid of letting anyone know. Even her best friend, Andy, is unsure what he can do to help her. In New York, major Yankee player Dean is currently struggling with what they call the "yips", which has been happening to a lot of major league baseball players, causing them to not be able to play. Dean is struggling on pitching, and can't seem to understand what the problem is. Deciding to retire, he settles in Maine, renting the apartment Evvie rents with the help of Andy. The two decide to make a deal: Evvie doesn't ask Dean about baseball and Dean doesn't ask Evvie about Tim.

But as their friendship continues growing into something more, the two find themselves trying to help one another as they battle their own demons, and the lies and secrets they kept from each other become obstacles in their journey.

You’re not going to make everybody happy all the time.


Evvie Drake Starts Over, to me, sounded like a second-chance story, but a second-chance at life, and truthfully, it was that. What I loved the most about this was Evvie's self-discovery and realization that she, in fact, was tearing herself apart. Hidden underneath all the cuteness of this book, mental health slowly opens its door. Evvie was struggling with herself, and she didn't want to admit that she was someone who needed to trust in someone, tell them the truth, and stop trying to fix everything. And that was something else that deeply resonated within me. Evvie's determination to fix Dean was something many of us have found ourselves in. As a people pleaser, I tend to put my problems to the side, focusing on my friends and/or family members, not realizing that as I am trying to fix someone else, I'm not fixing myself. She wanted to be Dean's friend and help him get back to pitching, but she didn't realize she needed to worry about herself first and put herself as her priority. It felt good to read about a character who I could relate to in every way possible like that.

Another thing I really appreciated from this was the platonic relationship between Evvie and her best friend, Andy. Although the two had problems with each other sometimes, their friendship felt so real and connected. It felt necessary for Andy to be the friend Evvie had and needed, and I was so thankful that he was someone she could trust in, confide in, see for herself that she is not alone. Sometimes we just need that one special and important friend in our life, and the connection between Evvie and Andy felt so real, from their conversations to the way Evvie started realizing that he has his own life apart from the one with hers, opened my eyes a little more to see how Evvie and I shared even more similarities: We forget the people around us can't always make time for us.

Evvie started over, and she deserved to. She went through moments that almost nobody in her life was aware of, and it was upsetting having to read about her having to lie and hide this secret in fear. She blames herself for Tim's death but doesn't blame him for what he did to her, and you can feel the agony when she thinks she doesn't deserve happiness because of the situation she was put in. All in all, Evvie is a character who was not aware of her own inner demons clawing at her until she realized for herself that she was giving herself up for everyone else.

I feel like I should be able to figure this out. I keep telling myself, you know? Pull it together. You’re not starving, and you have friends, and just…get a grip.


On the other hand, Dean was also struggling with his inability to pitch straight and get back to where he was, but he has no motivation and determination to keep going. Evvie pushed him until he got back, and even with the small victories and hopeful miracle that gave light to Dean and his journey, it didn't feel real. Unlike Evvie, Dean had just quit, and the hope he once had had left his body entirely because he felt like he could no longer get back on the field and continue following his dreams. It felt sweet of Evvie to push him, but I also felt even more bad for Dean and his inability to find something else that he had potential in. You could say I felt like his character was more underdeveloped, because yes, I did feel that, and I had wished there was more to his arc.

As a lover of romance, I also expected more with the romance aspect. Again, it's very slow-paced, and as the reader, we already know how the two begin to fall for each other, but it didn't feel real after a while. It felt too rushed at times as well, and although I was smiling like an idiot the first time Dean talked about his feelings for Evvie, I had hoped there would be more development, but it started to feel like the romance was only being used a plot device to make the story progress without any meaning instead of actually adding to the story itself to make it progress. Admittedly, it was cute enough, but it felt too bland after.

In conclusion, Evvie Drake Sarts Over was a disappointment. The story has its sad moments, but it failed at tugging at almost any emotional strings. Evvie's character as a whole, especially her epiphany as the story was progressing more and coming to an end, was my favorite part of the book. Her journey took many different turns, and I felt like all of them were necessary for her to finally get out and explore not only her community but herself. But besides Evvie, the story failed to deliver the potential it had.
Profile Image for Christine .
569 reviews1,072 followers
March 16, 2019
3.5 stars rounded to 4 stars

This was a fun read. Just having read a heavy-duty literary fiction novel, I was ready for something like this. Evvie Drake is a young woman who decides to start her life over. Her best and platonic friend Andy knows Evvie needs the extra money and talks her into renting the apartment attached to the house to his childhood friend Dean. Dean is a former star pitcher with the New York Yankees who has recently lost his career thanks to a case of the “yips.” These are our three main characters.

This is a book about many things, including honesty with both oneself and others, family relationships, mental health issues, forgiveness, romance, and new beginnings. Most of the characters are very likeable, and it was especially easy to cheer for Evvie. The Maine setting is different, and Ms. Holmes does a good job bringing the setting into the story. There is depth to the tale, but I was hoping for more—this might relate to the fact that I have been reading some meaty novels in recent months. Despite that, I really enjoyed the story, which drew me in right away and held my interest throughout.

I recommend Evvie Drake Starts Over to anyone looking for an interesting and fun feel-good read. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Holmes comes up with next.

Thanks to Net Galley, Random House Publishing - Ballantine Books, and Linda Holmes for an advanced review copy. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,210 followers
August 11, 2019
This is a book that people who have a lot more substance than I have would enjoy. It's a journey of several people learning to move on after bad things happen in their lives. The book is well-written, the characters are complex, and there is a lot of complicated emotions going on. In other words, way too good for Jilly.


Complex emotions are beyond Jilly's grasp.

The pacing of the book is also very slow. The main couple start as friends for months before anything happens between them. That is also beyond my understanding. Jilly would have jumped the hottie before he finished unpacking. Why wait? Are you waiting until you're both not messed up in the head? Well, I have news for you: Everyone is messed up in the head and it doesn't get better with age. You just get better at hiding it or turning it into a "snarky sense of humor."


At some point you have to see if your two crazies match. It's a beautiful moment in a relationship.

There is also quite a bit of talk about baseball - specifically pitching - that bored me. But, it wasn't too bad I just have a very low sports-talk tolerance. I check out of conversations involving sports within seconds and go to that happy place in my head where I'm on the beach watching dolphins frolic while being served daiquiris by a Hemsworth.

In spite of those minor problems, I can't deny that this book was a beautiful story and well written. It just didn't appeal to my trashy taste. I'm the raccoon of readers. You don't give a raccoon an expensive steak and lobster dinner and expect them to appreciate it. You give them trash. They like trash.


Aww... so romantic! Where can I get this book?
Profile Image for Anne Bogel.
Author 6 books50.7k followers
April 22, 2020
In the debut novel from Pop Culture Happy Hour host Holmes, a grieving widow and a disgraced Major League pitcher start over after each suffers their own kind of tragedy. Evvie’s husband dies in a car accident, but the truth surrounding his death is painful for reasons her small town community can never know.

Dean’s career took a nosedive when he inexplicably developed “the yips”—he can’t pitch for reasons that might be all in his head, but nobody can figure it out. Evvie needs the income a boarder would bring, and Dean needs a refuge, so a mutual friend connects the two. Out of mutual kindness and witty banter, a friendship develops, and then something more … but starting over as a grown-up is complicated.

A warm, witty, and satisfying summer read.
Profile Image for peachygirl.
266 reviews630 followers
January 20, 2022
It was extremely refreshing to read about a healthy relationship between two mature adults who actually act like adults. Both Evvie and Dean were communicative, understanding and supportive of each other. There was no insta love nonsense. The way their relationship grows is so beautifully written.
Truly a unicorn among contemporary romances.
Could have had a little more zing though!
Or maybe I'm just being greedy 🙈
Profile Image for Claire Reads Books.
136 reviews1,369 followers
February 1, 2019
4.5 ⭐️ I’m a longtime fan of Linda Holmes’s writing and of her work on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, so I went into this book really wanting to love it — and I was relieved to discover that it’s even better than I was hoping it would be. This book is pretty much what I wish every contemporary romance novel was — something with enough fantasy and dizziness to provide a sense of escape, but something that also doesn’t sand down life’s rough surfaces or trim away its ragged edges. This is a smart, grounded, and swoon-worthy read that is equal parts romance and the story two people learning how to change course and reshape the contours of their lives. A perfect cozy weekend read.
273 reviews82 followers
July 6, 2019
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to read this book given the reviews already. The story begins with a loss for Evie which sets the tone of the book. Evvie was so close to her new life until tragedy struck and she is now dealing with her own guilt and the perception of her friends and family.

Dean is a major league pitcher who is a friend of Evvies and due to his own projessional tragedy, he is forced to take some time off and decides to rent a room in Evie's home.

The story spans over a year and both form a friendship that blossoms over time. They initially make an agreement not to discuss their current issues, but realize that their friendship lends a necessary support that forces them to face their truths.

They are also confronting the feelings that have developed and how to navigate due to Dean's temporary stay and neither is wanting to make any permanent logistal changes.

The story does have an HEA, but this author did not rely on a predictable ending to get there. I enjoyed Evvie's journey to get her life back and she eventually discovers how strong she is. I also loved the banter between Evvie and Dean, and their friend Andy. It reminded me of many episodes of Gilmor Girls where the ordinary became extraordinary...........and hilarious.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,057 reviews30k followers
August 24, 2019
Thank you to Random House for the complimentary copy.

Evvie Drake Starts Over is a standout of a read. Now I know why it’s been buzzworthy this summer. Evvie is recently widowed and having a hard time. Andy is her best friend, and his childhood friend, Dean, is a major league pitcher who can no longer throw straight.

Dean moves into an apartment adjoining Evvie’s house, and they come to an agreement not to talk about baseball and Evvie’s late husband. They form a friendship that morphs into more.

Ok, ok! Evvie? I loved her! Her pain was visceral, and she was so down-to-earth. Dean? I loved him, too. What a charmer. Linda Holmes definitely cared about these two because it shows in their endearing natures. I appreciated how the author didn’t rush Evvie and Dean’s relationship, which made it feel more authentic.

Overall, I basically fell in love with Evvie Drake’s story. There's plenty of substance, and it hit me at just the right time, when I needed a heartfelt, special book, one that left me feeling better, more uplifted, than when I started.

Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Corina.
781 reviews2,092 followers
May 26, 2020
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD?

Evvie Drake Starts Over was one of them. From beginning to end, the audiobook made me smile.

The story is a romance, a slow burn, but it’s also so much more. It’s about friendships, about loss, about mental health issues, it’s a journey of personal rediscovery, of letting go, and moving on.

The audiobook gave me 9 hours of feel good vibes that made this book unputdownable. Or in my case I found chores to do, and stayed in my car for far longer than needed. Honestly these are the best kind of audiobook experiences. When I stay in my car even after I get home after a long day of work, and don’t want to stop listening.

The friendships between Evvie and Dean, and Evvie and Andy were the heart and soul of this story. All three were exceptional characters, well developed, likable, relatable, and just endearing to me.

Throughout the entire novel, the dialogues really jumped out to me as something special. I just loved the way the characters talked to each other. The author did such a fantastic job with her dialogues, and most often, Evvie and Dean’s rapport was EVERYTHING to me, and really carried the story.

last thoughts:

The book isn’t super deep or life changing, but it is an easy to read, light and feel good novel that is perfect for a summer read, and wonderful palate cleanser in between heavier books. The setting, the characters, the story, are all very well developed, and beautifully written. Together it makes for an awesome debut novel.

ABOUT THE AUDIOBOOK:

The audiobook was captivating, enchanting and as I mentioned above I didn’t want to leave the car. The narration was fantastic, well paced, and drew me in, from start to finish. I’m excited to see what the author has in store for us next.


___________________________________
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Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.5k followers
March 26, 2022
This book is so cute. This is exactly the kind of charming, cute, cozy read I was in the mood for. This story follows Evvie (rhymes with Chevy) and her husband recently died. She’s best friends in the world with this guy Andy (and their friendship is 100% platonic which I appreciate), and Andy has a friend Dean who is looking for a place to get away because he’s a former Major League Baseball player who has “lost his streak” and wants to get out of the public eye. So Dean rents a room in Evvie’s house and romance emerges. 😌

This story was just so stinkin’ cute, and it honestly gave me Rainbow Rowell vibes and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine vibes. Evvie is an incredibly relatable main character for me, she just cares so much about her image and what other people think of her, and she has this deep-rooted anxiety that she denies to everyone including herself. As much as I love Evvie’s character though, her best friend Andy is my favorite character in this book. He is a single father to two adorable young daughters and he is absolutely hilarious. His first few scenes in this book had me cracking up and he has the best sense of humor, he made this book so much better. I also just really adored their friendship and how genuine it was, and completely nonromantic showing that men and women can be just friends.

But yeah this story was great: relatable main character, hilarious best friend side character, a cute romance that involves a Major League Baseball player... I mean what more could you ask for? 😌 And this is a debut! So I’m really impressed and really looking forward to reading anything this author writes in the future.
Profile Image for Janssen.
1,532 reviews3,409 followers
May 21, 2019
It's hard to find good chick-lit that's not too racy and not too stupid. This one was just about perfect. And the dialogue was so sharp - I underlined so many funny lines.
77 reviews2 followers
July 23, 2019
This cute little chick-lit book had SO much potential, which is why I’m so offended that it really fell flat for me.

Evvie Drake Starts Over had good bones, so to speak. I loved the small-town Maine setting and some of the details of lobster fishing and high school sports. The plot comes together quickly. Within a couple chapters the protagonist and her love interest are living together (landlord/tenant) and they create this obviously thin agreement to not talk about their central internal conflicts. The cover art is adorable (hey, it’s important!). But honestly, that’s all this book has going for it.

The characters are maddeningly flat. The reader has no sense of who Evvie Drake really is and whether or not we can relate to her. She’s pretty unexceptional and really only gets interesting when she blossoms into the love interest of Dean, which is exasperating because, like, #askhermore. The fringe characters are predictably one dimensional. Evvie’s husband is unremarkably bad. Evvie’s bestie Andy is unremarkably steady. Evvie’s dad is unremarkably… unremarkable. You get the point.

The dialogue is cringe worthy, like other reviewers have said. The scenes where two men (like Dean and Andy) are speaking to each other left me so annoyed. Adult men do not converse in real life they way they do in this book. Dialogue between adults and children made me wonder if the author has never spoken to a human child. Even the flirtatious exchanges between Evvie and Dean left me furrowing my brow in confusion.

The setup of many scenes felt really contrived. The strategies the author used to get the characters in the same place was often unbelievable. (i.e. All the characters and their parents need to be introduced, so, like, put them all at the same Thanksgiving dinner – and give it some vague drama. Dean and Evvie should be in a confined space to build some sexual tension, so Dean now wants to buy a pinball machine… in Boston, so, like, road trip.)

I found many details of this book so farfetched and unbelievable that I just had to roll my eyes, predominantly anything to do with Evvie and Andy’s cliché relationship. Same comment for the forced parallels with many of the lesser developed characters. Like how Andy’s wife and Evvie’s mom were essentially the same characters leaving their families for greener pastures. It didn’t feel like a character theme; it felt like the author just couldn’t get any more creative.

The plot and timeline holes irritated me. I read this in about three sittings, but still found myself flipping backwards to see if I had missed something. We get a couple chapters about Thanksgiving, but then we skip to February without acknowledgement of Christmas or New Years, which seem like formidable holidays for love interests who live together. Early on, Evvie gets a professional opportunity, but it’s never really rounded out and she only mentions it in passing like 100 pages later. Then near the end, it's somehow still on the table though she basically ghosted her boss/client for a year.

Lastly, I read this book in hardback and found many mistakes – missing commas, run-on sentences, out-of-order preposition clauses, and generally baffling syntax. I can’t believe it was written by a journalist. It reads like it was never given a proper line edit.

I wanted so badly to love this book, but UGH.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,920 reviews2,361 followers
May 22, 2020
This isn’t a book I would ordinarily attempt, but I’ve had good luck with other Reese Witherspoon book club selections. I loved the idea that Evvie wasn’t mourning over the death of her husband. No, she was wallowing in guilt that she didn’t love him. And was actually in the process of leaving him when he suffered a fatal car accident. This book, like several I’ve read lately, deals with how little we know of other people’s marriages. And how much we hide, even from those closest to us. It takes a stranger moving into Evvie’s house as a tenant for her to begin sharing her thoughts. That the stranger happens to be a “retired” major league pitcher who was forced out of the game by a case of the yips just compounds the story.
This is a romance novel, but it is more than that. It covers guilt, secrets and moving on with life when it doesn’t go your way. It’s not fast paced by any stretch of the imagination. But the characters seemed real and I mostly enjoyed being in their company. Andy says to Evvie, don’t try to fix Dean. But she does and it got on my nerves just like it did his. But that’s how it is folks, they sometimes bother us. But the secondary characters - Andy, Monica, his parents, her dad, were also well developed and enjoyable to meet.
This was a decent book, but I can’t say I loved it or even really like it enough. It was pretty predictable.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,396 reviews7,277 followers
September 6, 2019
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

When Evvie’s husband (and high school sweetheart) passed away almost a year ago, everyone in their small town couldn’t help but offer her endless condolences. She opted to hole up in their dream home and everyone just assumed it was due her being overcome by grief. Dean was a World Series winning pitcher until he came down with a serious case of the yips. He’s been trying (and failing) to hide out himself, but it’s pretty hard when your own private island just so happens to be Manhattan. Thanks to their mutual friend Andy, Evvie finds some much needed extra income and a tenant for the rental addition on the back of her house and Dean finds a place to get away from the hounding press. Over the course of the next year they form a friendship and help each other find a way to move on.

If you know me you know I don’t hand out a lot of 5 Stars – especially to romcoms since I read a crapton of them. Fair warning to all of you before you go one-clicking this or requesting it from the library – my rating might be a little padded. As a life-long Cubs fan, this was a book that had me at hello the “yips.” Are you familiar with the yips??? They look a little something like this . . . .



Or this . . . .



Unfortunately for poor Dean, his ailment was in the form of throwing a strike rather than to first base so he wasn’t able to find a workaround like Lester has . . . .



Was that too quick? Lemme slow it down . . . .



So here’s the thing. Not only do I love baseball, but I love these stories that deal with real issues and not the typical B.S. that usually creates a bunch of unnecessary drama in romance novels where the whole thing could be resolved if the immature assholes would just FUCKING. TALK. TO. EACH. OTHER. which makes me get all stabby (bet you couldn’t tell that since I’m real subtle). I also am not necessarily always a fan of the real smexy sexytimes and enjoy more of a fade-to-black style in a story like this (and am VERY thankful no one turned into some sort of ass-slapper or filthy talker to scare me off). I loved that this was slow rolling in terms of getting to the romance stage – and more than anything I loved simply being around Evvie and Dean . . . . .

“I’m only good at grilled cheese,” he said. “And Pringles. I’m also good with Pringles.”

“Just cans of Pringles, or, like, you cook with Pringles?”

“Just Pringles. I buy them, I open the package, and then I stuff them straight into my face.”

“Ah. Got it. That’s how I make Oreos.”


This was just a completely enjoyable experience for me. All the stars.
Profile Image for Brandice.
800 reviews
September 17, 2022
In Evvie Drake Starts Over, Evvie (like Chevy) finally plans to leave her husband Tim and their unhappy marriage when she gets a call from the hospital that Tim has been in a bad accident. He dies and Evvie stays rooted in their small town in Maine.

Evvie’s friend Andy suggests she rent out the apartment at the back of her house to his friend, Dean. Andy knows Evvie could probably use the extra money and Dean is looking for a temporary escape from NYC. He was a great professional baseball pitcher but recently lost his skill and has been under extreme scrutiny from the media because of this.

Evvie and Dean give it a go and make an agreement — Evvie won’t ask Dean about baseball and Dean won’t ask Evvie about Tim. But, how long can this arrangement last when you’re in close quarters and becoming friends?

Though there are predictable elements, I enjoyed this story about friendship, taking chances, and speaking your truth. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Julia Whelan, and she did a great job, as always! This was my first Linda Holmes book and I’d read more from her.
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews2,703 followers
December 28, 2020
Maybe it’s a case of being mislead, or maybe it’s a case of ambivalence. Either way, Evvie Drake Starts Over was just meh for me.

My quest for Christmas-themed reads lead me to a Modern Mrs. Darcy blog post that listed EDSO as “set during the holidays but not about them.” Perfect! Cross that with the fact it was a Read with Jenna book club selection, and I was sold. Jenna has rarely lead me astray.

While I found this story about a young widow trying to pick up the pieces of her life to be pleasant and even enjoyable in some parts, it didn’t knock my socks off. I liked its setting in seaside Maine. I liked that her potential love interest was a pro baseball player with the yips. But other than that, I didn’t find the characters, plot, or writing to be particularly memorable. And speaking of memorable, I do not remember anything holiday related. Not even so much as a mention of an ugly Christmas sweater. Did I miss something?

I know many readers have adored this book, so you might too. Maybe it’s just me. Or should I say meh-be? (Sorry about that, I’ll show myself out.)
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