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If the beloved TV series Gilmore Girls could somehow be novelized, this effervescent debut would be close. Evvie, a young widow, would be Lorelei, and Dean, a washed-up pro baseball player, would be Luke. The sparkling banter, the twinkly little seaside town—this one in Maine, not Connecticut—and the storytelling all reminded me of Gilmore Girls, but even if you’re not a fan of that show, you’ll enjoy entering the world of Eveleth “Evvie” Drake.

A year after her husband’s death, Evvie rarely leaves her big house. Everyone, including her closest friend Andy and father, thinks it’s because she is grief-stricken. But what everyone doesn’t know is that Evvie was literally in the car with her bags packed to leave her husband when she found out he had been in an accident. If it sounds like she’s shallow and worldly, she’s not. Evvie had good reasons for leaving her marriage.

Enter Dean, Andy’s childhood best friend and a former Major League pitcher who can’t seem to throw straight anymore and can’t figure out why. When Andy invites him to Maine to escape all the media attention, Dean ends up living in part of Evvie’s too-big house. At first, the two are platonic roommates.

What ensues is a grown-up love story with lots of stops and starts and resets, as all good love stories have. Dean and Evvie are each trying to let go of their pasts and move forward, but that, of course, is easier said than done.

An exuberant, laugh-out-loud funny, and surprisingly profound debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over will have you rooting for both of these characters to come into their own and hopefully find each other along the way.

This endearing read seems on the surface to be a fizzy rom com, but Linda Holmes is a deft writer who offers keen insights. This is more than mere fluff, with hidden depths of perception and vision that take you by surprise. Written by the host of the NPR Pop Culture Hour podcast Linda Holmes, “Evvie Drake” is, in the words of young adult author Rainbow Rowell, “great company.” (Lightly sprinkled with some profanity, it would be rated PG-13 if it were a movie. Penguin Random House)

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