by Gretchen Anthony
Publication date: October 16, 2018
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Park Row
Best Books of Fall 2018 Selection by PopSugar
Dearest loved ones, far and near—evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners!
Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. And this year she’s going to throw her husband, Ed, a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of two hundred guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering Violet’s carefully constructed world.
In an epic battle of wills, Violet goes to increasing lengths to wrest back control of her family, infuriating Cerise and snaring their family and friends in a very un-Midwestern, un-Baumgartner gyre of dramatics. And there will be no explaining away the consequences in this year’s Baumgartner holiday letter…
Full of humor, emotion and surprises at every turn, Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners brings to life a remarkable cast of quirky, deeply human characters who must learn to adapt to the unconventional, or else risk losing one another. This is the story of a family falling to pieces—and the unexpected way they put it all back together.
Violet is the self-appointed matriarch of her family and community. Always the perfect model for proper manners, etiquette, and conversation, Violet loves to keep up appearances- especially when it comes to her holiday letters. This year, however, as Violet plans for her husband Ed’s retirement party, it seems her holiday letter writing may be a little less “fluffy”. When she unexpectedly learns of an unconventional secret her daughter Cerise has been keeping from her, Violet’s proper upbringing is put to the test. With Violet’s health and reputation put in a state of suffering, will she be able to rise above and continue to display those evergreen tidings, or will this season be the first nevergreen holiday?
Reading Evergreen Tidings was like opening the front door on Christmas Eve and being bombarded by the entire extended family juggling their quirky baggage and loads of champagne. The Baumgartners are an adorably likable family- Violet has more gumption than she knows what to do with, her husband Ed more patience than Job, and her daughter Cerise is a self-assured, witty individual, despite her mother’s shenanigans growing up. Anthony did a fabulous job of giving the reader laugh out loud moments, fully developed characters, and perfectly relatable familial drama all wrapped up in a perfect Christmas bow. By adding the twist of Cerise being a pregnant lesbian, Anthony creates character diversity in a beautiful way. This is a book I highly recommend everyone read this holiday season. And then next. And then probably the year after.
Thank you, Gretchen Anthony and Unabridged for gifting me this book.