Evvie Drake Starts Over

Ballantine. Jun. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9780525619246. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780525619253. F
DEBUT Thirty-three-year-old Evvie Drake has been living a fairly solitary life in the year since her husband died, rattling around their too-large house in the small Maine town where they both grew up, and working as a transcriber for clients around the country. So when a friend of a friend needs some time away, she’s happy to rent him the apartment attached to her home. Dean Tenney is a professional baseball player, a pitcher who, one day in the middle of a game, stopped being able to pitch, a rare but not unheard of condition known as “the yips.” Each character is living in a sort of limbo, struggling to adjust to fundamental shifts in their identities, and they gradually become friends, then something more. But both have unfinished business with their previous selves that they’ll have to address before moving forward. Though one could make the case for this being a romance novel—and plenty of romance readers will enjoy it—there’s a stronger focus on the characters’ individual arcs than on them as a couple.
VERDICT Holmes’s (host, NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour) debut is charming, funny, and warmhearted and will please fans of Jasmine Guillory and Maria Semple.

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