It has been roughly twelve months since The Husband and I parted ways and in that period of time I feel like I have done nothing but try to start over. In my reality, this doesn’t mean romantic entanglements, so much as emotional upheaval, jobs and taking care of teenage kids. It has been a genuinely difficult period of time and although I’m not through it yet, I can see that I am getting there and increasingly I feel more like my old self. I’m afraid that I picked up Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes, for no better reason than the title reflected my own life and frankly, at the moment, there doesn’t have to be a better reason than that!
Evvie Drake harbors a terrible secret. On the night her husband died in a road accident, she was leaving him. Now a widow, no one knows the truth of Evvie’s unhappy marriage, not even her best friend Andy. When Andy’s friend Dean moves to Maine following the collapse of his baseball career, Andy encourages Evvie to rent Dean the apartment attached to her house. It doesn’t really take Einstein to figure out how the plot moves forward from this point and yet, this novel has something that other books don’t and that’s the voice of Holmes. Linda Holmes writes people really, really well. They are funny and flawed. Yes, Dean is crazy handsome as per all chick lit heroes, but he’s also just a man, lacking in many of the sensitivities and cues that men are want to do. There were points during this novel that I just had to stop and admire how Holmes writes dialog. It’s so fluid that it’s hard not to feel like you are in the room and somehow this offsets your normal chick lit expectations. It gives the characters just that little bit more plausibility and I liked it.
Evvie Drake Starts Over isn’t rewriting the chick lit genre, but it’s real in a way that other books of this kind simply aren’t. I can’t pretend I’ll remember the plot in the months or years to come, but I genuinely think that I will remember the name Linda Holmes and be tempted to pick up something else one day.