Friday Read: Excerpt from Evelyn Evolving

In honor of my mother as Mother’s Day weekend starts, here’s a scene from the book I wrote about her, Evelyn Evolving: A Novel of Real Life. My parents both had volatile tempers, and this is what I imagined one of their fights was about. It’s true that my father didn’t want anything to do with the Catholic church, or really any church, even though his parents took him to the Methodist church as he was growing up.

In contrast, my mother was tied to the church, mainly by guilt, intimidated by the priests and afraid of eternal damnation if she didn’t do as what was expected of a devout Catholic woman of the time. Because of her experiences in the orphanage, I’m sure she had a love/hate relationship with the church. Thankfully, in her later years she had a healthier connection to the church, but I always suspected that scared little girl still lingered somewhere deep in her subconscious.

Next Chapter Publishing who released Evelyn Evolving has put it on sale thru May 22 for readers in Canada who use Kobo. It’s only .99 at that outlet, so this is a good chance to get a copy if you’ve not read the book yet.

Grab Evelyn Evolving for Kobo

Cover for Evelyn Evolving by Maryann Miller. Two young girls walking toward a distant tree in  field, both carrying suitcases. Dressed circa 1920 with dresses and shawls.


Four-year-old Evelyn Gundrum’s secure and happy world is turned upside down when she and her sister are abandoned by their mother and sent to an orphanage run by the terrifying Sister Honora. An orphanage is not an ideal place for a child to live, even in the best of times, and Evelyn is there in the worst of times, 1923 to 1933.

Evelyn grows up amidst hardship and heartbreak, plagued by unresolved emotions and trauma that follow her into adulthood as she seeks answers in a sea of questions. The most important one being, will anybody ever love her?

Praise for Evelyn Evolving

Evelyn Evolving is a heartfelt story of one woman’s journey through some of life’s most difficult trials, a coming-of-age that readers won’t soon forget. Maryann Miller captures the spirit of a woman who refuses to be defeated with great tenderness and, what’s more, enduring hope. — Kristy Woodson Harvey, bestselling author of Slightly South of Simple

Now here’s the scene. Enjoy!

When Russell came home from work, Evelyn waited until he was finished with supper, before telling him about the unexpected visit from Regina and Henry. “I don’t like you telling them things about me,” she finished.

“I’m not telling them things about you.” He pushed his empty plate aside and sighed. “I just asked if you’re there when I come home and you’re gone.”

“Well, don’t” She rose and took the empty plates to the sink.

“Then stay home, goddamit.”

“Russell, please. I don’t want to fight.”

“I don’t either.” He tipped his cup. “Is there any more coffee?”

“Sure.” She brought the pot over and filled his cup. After replacing the pot on the stove, she came back to the table and sat down. “Maybe I’d be better if we had our marriage blessed.”

“What?” Brown liquid sloshed over the edge of his cup and spread in a circle on the white tablecloth.

“You know how important the church is to me.” Evelyn sopped at the spilled coffee with her napkin.  “And I can’t take communion because we’re not married in the church.”

“Why now? Why after almost three years?”

Evelyn hesitated a moment. “The last time I asked the priest about it. He said I was forever banned. And he said our children were…” she stumbled over the last word. “Bastards.”

 “What?” Russell glared at her. “How could a priest say such a horrible thing about a child?”

“I don’t know.” Evelyn shrugged. “The priest said that if we got our marriage blessed, it would make everything legal in the church.”

“I don’t care what your church thinks.”

“I was hoping—”

“Hoping what?” He stood and threw up his hands. “I’m so tired of your hopes and your dreams.”

His angry interruption reduced her to a stammer. “I…I…”

They faced each other in a strained silence for a moment, then he said. “I told you before we married what I think about any church. And I keep telling you. Yammering away at me is not going to change my mind.”

“I wasn’t yammering.”

“Woman! All you do is yammer. If it isn’t about the damn church, it’s about the house. ‘Russell, when are you going to finish the spare bedroom? Russell, could we have a real front porch? Russell, it wouldn’t kill you to go to church once in a while.'”

He turned and started toward the door.

“Well, it wouldn’t,” she called to his retreating back. “And if you spent more time here, maybe you could get the damn house finished.”

He whirled. “I’d spend more time here if the atmosphere was a lot more pleasant.”

“Oh. That’s right. Blame everything on—”

The last of her sentence was cut off by the slamming of the door.


That’s all for today from me folks. If you’re a mother celebrating the weekend, I do hope it is just wonderful. I will have company off and on the next couple of days, so my party will last a long time. 🙂 Be safe. Be happy. Have fun. And do let me know what you think of the excerpt from the book.

“When ignorance screams, intelligence is silent. Your peace and quiet are worth more.”

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