Evvie Drake

Evvie Drake has packed, put cash in an envelope, and has started driving down the street prepared to leave her high school sweetheart to whom she has been married for four years. Then she gets a call that her husband has been killed in a car accident. It comes from the hospital where her husband works. He is beloved by all, handsome and charismatic.

Evvie spends the next year consumed with guilt about not missing him at all, but no one but her has been privy to his verbal/emotional abuse and his anger. She has not even shared this aspect of her life with her best friend Andy, a divorced father with two young children. The townspeople and his family consider Evvie’s late husband a Saint.

Evvie’s large house has an attached room that’s big enough to serve as a studio apartment. She decides to rent it to Dean, a friend of Andy’s from New York. Dean is a professional baseball player who is in the gossip columns, usually pictured with a famous actress or female athlete on his arm. Trouble is, Andy has mysteriously lost his pitching ability and has been released from the New York Yankees. He needs a place of quiet and anonymity to recover.

Both Evvie and Dean are suffering from life-changing events. They are young enough to contemplate new careers and futures with romance. Evvie loves living in her small hometown in Maine because her father is there, but Dean misses the excitement of New York.

Linda Holmes, the author of “Evvie Drake Starts Over,” is a National Public Radio host of the podcast “Pop Culture Happy Hour” and often appears on NPR radio shows. This is her first novel, and it is funny and poignant. The characters are introspective, confronted with modern-day complications that sets this feel-good story apart from standard romance novels.

Holmes’ references to the characters’ attraction to radio shows is fun. I ended this novel feeling happy. Readers will relate to its themes of selfcare, honesty and recovery.

Holmes’ book has earned starred reviews and was selected by The Today Show as a summer book club pick.