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Evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners
2018
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Summary
A formidable matriarch learns the hard way that no family is perfect in this witty, sparkling debut novel

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.
Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Many of us have been on the receiving end of those humble/bragging holiday letters. Violet Baumgartner's letters are the humble/braggiest, detailing the accomplishments of her distinguished scientist-husband, Ed, and their brilliant daughter, Cerise, not to mention her own work on behalf of Faithful Redeemer Lutheran Church. Her perfect life all comes crashing down literally at Ed's retirement party, when the discovery that Cerise is expecting causes her to faint. The resulting concussion sidelines Violet for several weeks, making it harder for her to exert her accustomed control over everything, including Cerise's pregnancy. Having already accepted that Cerise's significant other is a woman, Violet now becomes obsessed with finding out the identity of the biological father. Meanwhile, her best friend, Edris, has troubles of her own. Recently laid-off husband Richard seems to have a secret life, and son Kyle, Cerise's best friend from childhood, is being investigated for fraud. Everything comes to a head at the festivities surrounding baby Adam's baptism. Anthony's debut gently pokes fun at her characters while affirming the supreme importance of family, whatever form that family might take.--Mary Ellen Quinn Copyright 2018 Booklist
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