Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Evvie Drake Starts Over

A smart romantic comedy about two lost, wounded souls who lean on each other as they step into their futures. 
Linda Holmes, host of the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, makes her fiction debut with a bright and lively romantic comedy that charts the course of 33-year-old widowed and childless Eveleth "Evvie" Drake of Calcasset, Maine. A transcriptionist, Evvie saw her life derail when her husband, Tim, died in a car crash on the very day Evvie was ready to leave him. Family and friends were completely unaware of Tim's dark, abusive side and Evvie's exit plan. This includes her closest friend, Andy, whose wife walked out on him and their two young children. 
Evvie's planned escape riddles her with guilt. And when small-town talk of Tim keeps circling back to Evvie, it exacerbates her isolation. But her life changes with the arrival of Andy's pal Dean Tenney, a pitcher for the New York Yankees who's struggling with an emotional block that has rendered him unable to throw a baseball straight. 
Andy asks Evvie to let Dean rent the small apartment in the back of her house so Dean can have privacy as he attempts to regroup. Evvie agrees, but sets conditions: Dean will not ask Evvie any questions about her marriage or her deceased husband. And Evvie will not ask Dean why his successful pitching career tanked to the point that he's known as "Baseball's Exiled 'Head Case.' " 
Evvie Drake Starts Over, ripe with amusing wit and charm, skillfully explores regret and longing, friendship, love and forgiveness, and the challenges posed by reinvention. Holmes has a firm grasp on the realities of everyday life and the difficulties of carving out happiness in the modern world.

EvvieDrake Starts Over: A Novel by Linda Holmes

Ballantine Books, $27.00 Hardcover,  9780525619246, 304 pages

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (June 25, 2019), link HERE

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Summer of '69

One uncertain summer on Nantucket Island changes the lives and loves of every member of an extended family.

Elin Hilderbrand (The Perfect Couple) dips into historical fiction, setting Summer of '69 in the era of the Vietnam War and Woodstock, a landmark moon landing and the scandal of Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick car accident.
With history playing out, the Foley-Levin family of the greater Boston Area had planned to spend another summer at "All's Well," the Nantucket home of Exalta Nichols, the family matriarch. This year, however, the family is splintered, everyone facing the uncertainty of personal challenges: Kate--Exalta's widowed, remarried daughter and mother of three adult children of her own--is worried sick about 19-year-old Tiger, who fights for his country and his life after he's drafted into the Vietnam War. Rebellious Kirby is a hardworking 21-year-old; the free spirit and civil rights activist grapples with a taboo love and bristles against the ramifications of the Kennedy scandal. Blair, a 24-year-old intellectual, feels neglected as she endures a difficult pregnancy with twins while her husband is wrapped up, manning Mission Control for NASA. Jessie--the only offspring of Kate and her second husband, David, a lawyer--is a sensitive, love-sick 12-year-old swept up in family drama, preteen angst and the judgments of her elitist grandmother. 

Hilderbrand weaves the secret struggles, weaknesses and strengths of her well-developed cast into a rich tapestry. Hot-button issues--classism, racism, anti-Semitism, abortion, women's rights and the polarization of war--add resonant depth to Hilderbrand's trademark Cape Cod Islands setting and well-plotted multiple storylines. Once again, Hilderbrand shines, continuing to stretch her literary range with great success.

The Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Little, Brown and Company, $28.00 Hardcover,  9780316420013, 432 pages

Publication Date: June 18, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (June 21, 2019), link HERE