Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners
A formidable matriarch goes to wild efforts to wrest back control of her family in this sidesplitting dramedy set in the Midwest.Dearest loved ones, far and near--evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners!Violet has opened her annual Baumgartner holiday letter the same way for over 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 secret: Cerise and her partner, Barb, are expecting a baby.Why would Cerise keep her pregnancy a secret from her own mother? Cracks begin to form in the family's perfect veneer as Violet goes to increasing lengths to take back control of her family, infuriating Cerise and Barb and snaring their families 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...Delightful, surprising and full of heart, Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners brings to life a sparkling cast of characters whose struggle to understand one another illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family, no matter how dysfunctional they can get.
Paperback, 368 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by Park Row
Every family has one of ‘those’ relatives…that aunt that is the center of all things or the uncle that dominates all conversations. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if they ever learned the lesson that the universe doesn’t actually revolve only around them? Well, this comedic sitcom like novel gives a delightful glance at just that.
Violet Baumgartner is a beloved member in her community and Queen of the Baumgartner Realm, Overseer of the Kingdom of her own Creation! She has her hands in charities, fundraisers and events with her church. She has raised her daughter Cerise, who is now an adult, and been proudly by her husband Ed’s side through his career. Violet does not only talk the talk, she embraces everything with enthusiasm and perfection. Her image in the eyes of others is very important to her and always has been so. For thirty years she has written Christmas letters, ‘The Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners’ and never sent them out but filed them in boxes chronologically like a diary. In these letters she could truly express her love for family or share her thoughts when times were hard, but no one ever got to read them or knew about them.
Ed Baumgartner is going to retire, and Violet is planning the biggest party event yet. Invited are their friends and family and everything is glitz and glamor. Until…one of the guests holds a speech of well wishes and reveals unknowingly a secret that shocks Violet so much, that she falls on her head and gets a concussion. (The whole scene was rather comical actually and only the beginning of things to come).
Cerise, Violets daughter, is making a nice life with her partner Barbara with a steady career and a place to call home. She is used to her mother’s little drama and exaggerations, unlike Barb, who comes from ‘good stock’ but has no relations really with her parents. The two of them have wonderful news to share with the family, which creates a whole new commotion at the Baumgartners.
Eldris, her husband Richard and their son Kyle, have been the Baumgartners closest friends since the kids were little. But lately, some funny things are going on…..Richard comes and goes at odd hours and Violet nudges Ed to keep an eye on his friend and what he might be up to. In the meantime, the Feds show up and take Kyle into questioning about some missing boxes and materials from his company…. All the while Richard is exchanging wads of cash in dark alleys and treating Eldris fancier than ever. So what is happening to these people going into retirement? What is up with Kyle? Will Violet be able to concede to the changes happening around her that she cannot change?
Read it to find out!
This is a witty satire and fast read. The shenanigans in this novel are ridiculously funny and I almost guessed it to be British. But no, this is all happening in Minnesota, US! Who would have thought?
If you enjoy a lighthearted entertaining book with just a smidge of mystery in it that culminates to an ending of self-reflection and love, then YES, give this book a try. It is a mingled, discombobulated family drama wrapped in a cushions of love and Christmas letters!
I received a digital copy of ‘Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners’ from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you!