Evvie Drake Starts Over
By Linda Holmes
Published June 2019 by Ballentine Books
In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
When Dean 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. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.
Disclaimer: The links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on an item and choose to purchase it, I will make a small commission at no cost to you. To see my full disclosure policy, click here. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.
Evvie Drake’s life gets turned upside down the day she gets a call that her husband was in a car accident.
He ends up passing away and Evvie spends the following months in just existing. She isn’t really working much, and she doesn’t go out much except to see Andy and his girls. She’s just doing the bare minimum in a huge house she’s now alone in.
Her best friend Andy has a friend (Dean) who needs a place to stay for a while and lay low. He’s a famous baseball player who suddenly has lost the ability to pitch. And because she has an apartment behind her house, Andy suggests that Dean rent the apartment from Evvie. It’s also out of New York City, so he won’t be in the spotlight every time he leaves the apartment.
Evvie and Dean don’t have insta-love. They fall into a comfortable rhythm of friendship (although they agreed they won’t discuss Dean’s baseball career or Evvie’s late husband), and time passes. It’s clear they both have issues that they don’t want to discuss, but unfortunately those issues keep arising and so eventually they do have to deal with them.
I loved watching their relationship unfold. It’s messy and beautiful at the same time. They both have truths they need to reveal to each other and obviously to themselves.
What I also loved about this romance is that it wasn’t a “omg suddenly we are attracted to each other let’s hop in bed” type scenario. There’s quite a bit of time that passes in the course of this book and they acknowledge at some point they’re attracted to each other but more time is needed before they act on it.
Evvie’s story made me cry. We learn more about her early life and marriage in snippets as the story goes on, and it’s clear that she has a lot of things to work through and that she’s good at hiding things from herself and others.
Dean also has things to work through, but his weren’t as emotional (to me, at least) as Evvie’s. He’s an amazing pitcher and has won a World Series, until now suddenly he’s no longer an amazing pitcher. I’ll just say, even though I don’t play baseball (or even watch it much), I found Dean relatable in a lot of ways overall.
What makes this book a 5 star read for me, is that it felt so real and like I was really there with them as this was all happening, and I love when books can do that for me. Plus, I’d love to re-read this one a few more times because it’s just that good.