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16 October 2010

Evenfall, by Liz Michalski

I'm not sure how else to say it but this way -- I really, really didn't want this one to end.

Scheduled for release in February of 2011, Liz Michalski's debut novel, Evenfall is quite a story, and one I intentionally slowed down in my reading towards the end because I really didn't want to commit to the fact that all stories have to end.  I'm so happy that I picked this one up at the SIBA Trade Show last month.

Each chapter of Evenfall takes a third-person point-of-view of three important people: Andie, Frank, and Gert, living on beautiful land in Connecticut called Evenfall. It's land that has been owned for a couple hundred years by one family, and at one time, it was the talk of the town with money galore.  But over the past fifty years or so, it's been hard farmland to work, and it's now become simply just a home with work to be done.

The characters are...

Andie is the young woman who's just returned from Italy -- she's caught her oh-so charming boyfriend with another, and it's time to get away. Her Aunt Clara has already passed, and now so has her Uncle Frank. It's time for her to come to Evenfall to help Aunt Gert clean it up to possibly sell. She has no bond with her own father, who dropped her off at a boarding school each fall when she was a kid, and then dropped her off at Evenfall each summer. She's been lucky to have her two aunts and uncle to give her a sense of family. And although this summer will be a hard one filled with memories that jump out from every room of the old house that will be looked at by real estate investors, she's especially unprepared for the young boy she once babysat who has now grown into quite a capable young man. A break from men and life's decisions she will not get.

Aunt Gert, nearing eighty, has spent a lifetime as a take-charge nurse who also served in WWII -- she's not a woman to be messed with. Aunt Gert has lived on the land in a small cottage since Andie was a kid, while the love of her life, Frank, was married to her sister, and living in the main house just a short walk away. I could imagine that feeling and how difficult it must have been for Gert. It's built her toughness to the point when it's not often anyone or anything can really crack it.

And Frank. Frank may have been my favorite character, but it's hard to say since I enjoyed each one. He's now dead, but he's certainly not gone, and he hovers about the house, having the ability to move from place to place simply by thinking about it. Gert is really the one he was always meant to be with, but bad timing and perhaps the subtle thought that there was always time, kept him from making the right choice. Regret can almost feel like its own character, and in Evenfall, the weight of its presence was felt through every page. Frank, though, is not ready to have it be part of him any more -- he's going to make it right, and sometimes he can project his presence to the point where Gert can feel him around her. It's not the time anymore for him to just sit back and let time slide by.

Evenfall is genuine.  Every character had its own peculiarity and distinct personality that it never once felt jarring when the point of view switched from chapter to chapter as it sometimes can in other stories.  Their actions were real and organic to who they ultimately were.  Even the movements and thoughts of Frank's ghost were written so authentically that I felt confident that this truly would be what a ghost would be able to do, to think, to feel, in their afterlife.

I felt surrounded by so many things as I read this.  Enveloped by the humid richness of the New England summer, the descriptions of farmland, peaches, and the setting sun so real I could see it before me.  And reminder.  Regret makes an incredible story, as Liz Michalski does with Evenfall, but it certainly does not make a good life.  I was reminded to enjoy the moment, to see what was before me, and to not just pay attention to what, but most especially to whom.

Liz Michalski has effortlessly crafted a story that resonates about love and life, and how strong longing can be in the afterlife.  What's right is always right, and it doesn't matter when it happens, but making the effort to make it right is a lot better than living a lifetime of regret.

This comes out in February - I envision book clubs really enjoying this one.  And especially good for anyone on a rainy day.

Visit Liz Michalski's blog by clicking here.

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


  1. Sounds amazing! I'm adding it on my wishlist :)

  2. Your review is fantastic! Isn't it wonderful when you find a book that you don't want to end?

  3. I have only had that feeling once this year but I so understand, you start reading slower and fully taking it in and so it last longer.

    Great review.

  4. What a marvelous review! I'll be waiting anxiously for this one to come out.

  5. That sounds great plus it's got a gorgeous cover!

  6. Sounds really good. I will definitely be looking out for this one. Terrific review by the way. I love it when I read a book that I wish would go on forever. Even if I feel bad when I get to the last page.

  7. This book looks awesome!! I am adding it to my tbr list and will hopefully remember to pick it up in when it's released :)

  8. Aleksandra -- I think you'll like it!! Let me know what you think when you read it!

    bermudaonion -- It was a treat to read a book like this, and I hope the next choices I pick up will be just as wonderful!

    Marce -- Yes! It was exactly like that -- I kept putting the book down, putting off the eventual end! When I finish a good book, I just get antsy! And that next book I pick up better be good, right? :)

    Becca -- Thanks! It is definitely well worth the wait! I may have to host a giveaway soon for a few of these great finds so the buzz can get out into the blogosphere! :)

    Caitlin -- I know, the cover is just phenomenal! The colors are gorgeous and had such the artistic quality that worked so well with this story line and drew me to it!

    Yvette -- Thanks!! Do let me know what you think if you get a chance to read this one -- I truly didn't want it to end!

  9. Kelly -- Definitely put it on the wish list -- it's great! And keep an eye out on this blog -- I think that I'll be putting together a giveaway soon and I might include this as one of the choices to pick!

  10. This sounds charming. Thanks for introducing it to me!

  11. Looks like I'm going to have to keep an eye out for this. I didn't see it at NEIBA so I'll have to try to get a copy soon :-)

  12. Lisa -- It is an incredibly charming story -- I'm glad I've put it on your radar!

    Marie -- Oh, yes -- keep your eye out for this one, well worth it! I may include this in an upcoming giveaway, so keep an eye out on this blog! :)

  13. Oh wow, this does sound like a particularly evocative and wonderful book, and I have heard little about so far. I loved your review and really got caught up in your enthusiasm for the book and it's characters. I love it when I find books that I wish would never end, and it's definitely going on my wish list now. Thanks so much for the great review, Natalie!

  14. Ah, I love it when you start reading slowly just to make a book last a bit longer. Great review Natalie. I'll have to look for this one when it comes out.

  15. it's been a while since i've read a book like that! recently, i've been reading books that i can't wait to finish. lol.

    your review really is glowing and i'll look forward to the release of this novel. be sure to remind us of it in the new year.

  16. It sounds wonderful...and February much too far away!

  17. Something to look forward to. It sounds really awesome!!

    BTW, I was tagged, so I tag you!

  18. Hi, Love the review - have added it to my TBR Pile :)
    Im a new follower

  19. Wanting to read but not wanting a book to end becomes more of a savoring-every-word kind of experience. Lovely!

    hehe, I'm also a sucker for a gorgeous cover ;)

  20. This sounds so good - you put together a wonderful review here!

  21. Fabulous review! I now want to read this. Off to go add to the crazy long list of books I want to read someday...

  22. Wow, it is definitely awesome to find a book you don't want to your review. Will look out for this one here.

  23. you make this sound so good! such a fun review to read. i must say i'm pretty excited to be moving back to the states and have easy access to whatever book i want!

  24. This one sounds amazing. I love when I pick up a book, and I don't want it to end. Adding to my wishlist...

  25. This book sounds amazing!! Now tell us, how did you manage to get your hands on a copy. *grins*

    Have a pleasant weekend :)

    Mad Scientist

  26. What a gorgeous cover! and the book seems to live up to the lovely cover too! Thanks for the review!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  27. So excited to put this on everyone's radar! I think this is going to be a very popular book next year!!

  28. This sounds fantastic and right up my alley :)


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