Title: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth
Author: Matson Taylor
Publisher: Scribner, Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 14th July 2020
Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?
The fastest milk bottle-delivery girl in East Yorkshire, Evie is tall as a tree and hot as the desert sand. She dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). The two posters of Adam Faith on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’) offer wise counsel about a future beyond rural East Yorkshire. Her role models are Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen. But, before she can decide on a career, she must first deal with the malign presence of her future step-mother, the manipulative and money-grubbing Christine.
If Evie can rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save the farmhouse from being sold off then maybe she can move on with her own life and finally work out exactly who it is she is meant to be.
I had heard such good things about this book – several bloggers I trust gave it a glowing review and I am pleased to say it lived up to my high expectations completely! The story follows Evie, a wonderfully high-spirited and amusing young woman living in 1960’s Yorkshire, along with a fantastic cast of memorable characters. Evie is trying to figure out what she wants her future to be like whilst also trying to remove her father’s horrific girlfriend, Christine, from their lives.
A coming of age story like The Miseducation of Evie Epworth really needs a strong main character that is both relatable and unforgettable. Evie fits the bill perfectly! I loved her pretty much immediately, she is charming, feisty, bright and has a warmth which makes the reader root for her throughout the book. She is in that difficult stage of feeling like an adult but not quite being ready for it. She wants to get out of her small village and conquer the world but as the story progresses it becomes abundantly clear that despite her ambition she has a real affection and love for her home and the people that live there. The terrible Christine is a notable exception to that affection. She is vapid, selfish and irritating and I was desperately hoping Evie would succeed in her scheming to rid herself and her good-natured father of this awful woman.
One of the biggest strengths of this fabulous book is the cast of characters. Every single one is totally brought to life with witty dialogue and humour. I particularly loved the relationship between Evie and her elderly next door neighbour, Mrs Scott-Pym. It was so lovely and genuine, showing that family is not just about blood, but about the bonds you create with others. The story is hilarious and full of brilliantly odd scenarios that had me laughing over and over again. It is fantastically evocative of Yorkshire, I have visited the area a couple of times and reading about Evie’s life made me want to plan a holiday there asap. The 1960’s setting is also beautifully portrayed. Little touches like the fashion, food and pop culture make reading The Miseducation of Evie Epworth such a joy from start to finish. It’s the sort of book that fills the reader with warmth and happiness, something which is sorely needed during this stressful year. It also has a real heart and emotional weight to it, I cared so much about these characters and they have totally stuck in my head since I finished reading. Simply put, this quirky, thoughtful and consistently funny book made me really happy and I cannot recommend it highly enough. You won’t regret spending time with Evie!
I was kindly sent a copy of the book by the publisher. My review is my own honest opinion.