For those of you who are tired and weary from decking the halls and playing Santa, I’ve got just the book to lighten your load. It’s a debut novel by up-and-coming author Gretchen Anthony and it’s a rip.
EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARTNERS by Gretchen Anthony. Park Row Books, New York. October 2018. 356 pages.
You know the obnoxious holiday letter that arrives every December from people you’re not even that close to anymore? Yeah, #metoo.
Usually written in the third-person in a voice reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth, the letter outlines every fabulous accomplishment and vacation and monetary blessing that the sender enjoyed over the last twelve months. It, in fact, makes the peon-recipient want to go jump off a bridge when she considers how in her life, the struggle is real.
Well, meet Violet Baumgartner, a woman with a grown daughter and a newly retired husband, and a history of sending Evergreen Tidings to one and all about how blessed her family is and how trouble never darkens their door.
Yeah, Violet is a Minnesota Lutheran Church Lady. A bit of a control freak, too. And that’s where the fun begins.
At her husband’s big retirement soiree, Violet learns her daughter has been keeping a secret.
Too bad everyone in attendance has also learned the secret. What’s a mother to do? How can she ever save face? Especially in light of a bald-face truth or two…
As the story progresses, Violet must learn to trust that the world will keep turning regardless of her efforts to control everything and everyone. And fortunately for readers, author Anthony threads subtle and not-so-subtle humor throughout Violet’s journey of self-discovery.
The thing is, in many ways, Violet was accepting and modern.
For that reason, there were times that the Lutheran Church Lady business was stretched a wee bit beyond credibility for me–can’t imagine a Lutheran minister not batting an eye at the daughter’s choices–I’m also getting a bit weary of a certain theme in just about every book that’s hitting the shelf these days, but hey, that’s just me. I’m set in my Minnesota Lutheran Church Lady ways. I’m not going to change.
But as for Violet, it turns out at least one stubborn Minnesota Lutheran Church Lady can rethink a few things. The Evergreen Tidings among them.
Foxy Rating Guide:
Four out of Five Foxes