Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl

Evie's Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl

Hannah Pearl comes to the blog today with a story about searching your past to find options for your future in

Evie’s Little Black Book

Taken by surprise when a former boyfriend, one that she thought herself in love with, invites her to his wedding, Evie’s world, at least her confidence, took a hard hit that even ice cream and a pity party wasn’t helping. Her old ‘black book’, actually a flowery-covered journal, listed each of her boyfriends, how she felt, what she was thinking, even their contact info, and she wonders if going back to those relationships will help her to see where she went wrong. Starting with a boy whose family lived a few doors down, Evie interrupts a cake fire, soon followed by a helping hand to a childminding uncle with more heart than skills, at least where baking is concerned. Jake is helping his sister Bea with her three-year old daughter Alice after a sudden divorce left Bea juggling work, childminding and life. Helpful to the nth degree, they helped Evie to find her early boyfriend, even as she instantly could suss out why that wasn’t an option for her.

Slowly Evie’s connection and friendship with Bea, Jake, and Alice starts to grow, with Evie’s own responsibilities at the school where she teaches English, and with Jake searching for a job, Alice needing care, and Evie finding herself helpful(as well as truly enjoying her time with Alice, the flirtation (or whatever it is) with Jake, and the offered friendship from Bea, she’s ‘helping out’ with Alice’s care over her summer holidays.

And there are stones to upturn: a visit to her grandmother in Ireland to reclaim the ‘feeling’ she had in the freedom of being young and bold during a visit in Dublin (with Jake who provided her with more questions), revisiting her old college hangout, finding another performing in a band near her brother’s house, and even a now married former flame who got her drunk, talked about old times, and with his husband nursed her through a hangover and advice. The wheels came off the bus when her former fiancé’s new girlfriend, and her friend, ends up in hospital after being beaten by said ex-fiancé where Evie recognizes his grooming her for a similar fate, undermined only by the fact that Evie had both family who she could rely on, and a sense that she wasn’t safe or happy with him, before he sent her packing. Revelations galore, a discovery of her own sense of worth, the slow and steady erosion of her confidence by the ex, and a supportive and gentle admiration from Jake (as well as a lovely heart-to-heart chat with her brother’s best friend and former boyfriend) that put her back on the path to finding her feet and reclaiming her own life.

Hannah Pearl gently mined the layers of expectation, self-doubts, and simple growing up and discovering who you are, and with Evie, who you were meant to be, even as circumstances may seem to be conspiring to stall you at every turn. With the dual stories of her ex-fiancé’s approach to isolating her versus her friend, the subtle controls, the tantrums and power plays that were less aggressive, but no less damaging to her own confidence, and the realization that abuse comes in many forms, and can escalate in intensity in ways unexpected. A truly clever way to show ‘danger signs’ in relationships, and the after-effects of a controlling and abusive partner – whether or not hands are thrown. A solidly crafted cast of characters, palpable emotions and many different stages of relationships, all in a caring an supportive setting kept this story intriguing without overburdening it with darkness, or brushing things under the rug. Clever, engaging and emotionally available with memorable characters and a sense of hope, this is far more than a simple romancey chick lit.

Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl

Title: Evie's Little Black Book
Author: Hannah Pearl
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction
Published by: Ruby Fiction
ISBN: 9781912550067
Published on: 21 August, 2018
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 204
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

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Is hunting down every man you’ve kissed the answer to finding Mr Right?

When Evie is invited to the wedding of the guy she’d fancied throughout her teens, it’s the final straw. What’s wrong with her and why can’t she keep a man?

In between consoling herself with ice cream and chocolate, and sobbing her heart out to her cousin Chamaine, Evie has a brainwave – and it all centres around her ‘little black book’ (well, more floral patterned notebook really) – which contains the details of every man she’s ever kissed or dated. Perhaps the cure for her disastrous love life has been nestled within its pages all along …

Does Evie’s little black book really hold the answers, or will she learn that exes are exes for a reason?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

About Hannah Pearl

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

4 responses to “Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl

    • I was impressed with Hannah Pearl’s ability to unpack and layer the nuance here – from the abusive behaviors of her ex to her own lack of realization, the clever ‘diving into the past’ and using those moments to figure out where and when that youthful abandon was lost – it all brought a solid picture that would transfer to a “I did that” or “I know her” moment for readers.
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