When I learned that one of my favorite podcast hosts, Linda Holmes, had a book coming out, I knew right away I wanted to read it. Holmes is the leader of a panel of critics from the NPR arts desk who come together to rant and rave about all things TV, movies and music on Pop Culture Happy Hour. It's one of my favorite podcasts and I always smile with glee when I see a new episode has downloaded to my library.
Evvie Drake Starts Over is Holmes' debut novel. The inside cover of the book describes the story as "the unlikely relationship between a young a woman who's lost her husband and a major league pitcher who's lost his game."
Evvie Drake lives in central Maine, where she's known as the town widow. Her husband, a prominent doctor, passed away recently. While most members of the community feel terribly for Evvie, she's hiding a big secret - the night her husband died, she was packing her car to leave him.
Enter Dean, a former professional baseball player looking for a quiet place to retreat, away from the media. Dean is introduced to Evvie through their mutual friend, Andy, who suggests that perhaps Evvie could rent her guest house to Dean while he figures out his next move.
You guessed it, they fall in love!
I particularly enjoyed this passage where Dean is staying over in Evvie's bed for the first time, "And now, here was Dean, tall and broad and slow-moving as he lay next to her in his jeans and bare feet. He always smelled like freshly mowed grass, and she wasn't sure whether it was because of something he wore or washed his hair with, or because he spent so much time on baseball fields, or because she was imagining it, the way she always expected a a lobsterman to smell like the ocean, whether or not he actually did. But she could not inhale enough of it, and when she'd find a spot, a hollow under his jaw or a span along his side, where she especially noticed it, she'd linger there trying to memorize it for when it was inevitably gone."
Holmes is clearly a romantic comedy fan, because she writes the story according to all the usual tropes: two people meet, but seem an unlikely pair; said people find a common bond; the chill between them begins to thaw; there's a pivotal kiss; they fall for fall each other; an obstacle is thrown their way that causes a huge fight; they eventually reconcile and live happily ever after.
There are no unexpected twists or turns in this book, everything is predictable. While I was reading, I kept thinking, "This would make a great Lifetime or Hallmark channel movie."
Though I wasn't blown away by the book, it was a fun read. This would be perfect for a plane ride or poolside.
As a super fan of Pop Culture Happy Hour, it was cool to see Holmes give shout outs to two of her fellow hosts, Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon, in the acknowledgements section at the end of the book. It makes me happy to know they are real life friends, not just co-workers.
Tell me, what have you been reading lately?
*Image courtesy of Ashley Brooke Designs.