by Liz Michalski

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101650929
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/01/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
File size: 348 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Liz Michalski graduated from a college in Connecticut with a BA in English. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two young children, and a large brown dog. Evenfall is her first novel.

Reading Group Guide


In life, Frank could've had any woman he wanted. In death, he'll try to win back the one that mattered…

Frank Wildermuth always regretted a mistake he made as a teenager: choosing Clara Murphy over her sister Gert. And like a true Murphy woman, Gert got on with her life, never admitting to heartbreak. Not even now, decades later, with Frank dead—dead, that is, but not quite gone. Now, Frank's niece, Andie Murphy, is back in town to settle his estate, and she sees that things have changed in Hartman, Connecticut. Aunt Gert still drives her crazy, but Cort, the wide-eyed farmboy she used to babysit, is all grown up—with a whole new definition for the word "sleepover." Even freakier are the whispers. Either Andie's losing her mind, or something she can't see is calling out to her—something that insists on putting right the past.



Liz Michalski graduated from college in Connecticut with a BA in English. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two young children, and a large brown dog. Evenfall is her first novel.


  • How is your experience of Evenfall shaped by the author's choice to tell the story through three distinct voices? What details might have been left out if we didn't have such a multi-perspective view? Did you find it effective?
  • What is Frank hoping to accomplish by staying on in the house as a spectral presence? What abilities does he possess? What is his "unfinished business"? Do you think he finds peace by the end of the novel?
  • Were you surprised by the history between Frank and Gert? How did their relationship come to define them both throughout the rest of their lives? What were the ramifications?
  • Do you think Andie makes a wise decision in starting a relationship (even if just a summer fling) with Cort? Why or why not? What do they offer each other? Is the affair worth the drama it creates, or do you think it is a love that can last?
  • The estate of Evenfall is a central character in the novel. What secrets, history, and energy reside within it? How does memory play a role in this story?
  • Why do you think Gert chose to stay in the smaller house on the property after Clara and Frank's deaths?
  • In what ways does Andie's career and life path mirror Gert's? What choices set them apart?
  • What inspires Gert's change of heart in warming up to Cort—even helping him to woo Andie back? What lesson from her own past might have motivated her to act this way?
  • Did you find Neal's appearance unexpected? Do you think Andie made a wise choice by rekindling her relationship with him? How is she different when she's with Cort?
  • What is Richard's role in the story—to Andie, and to life at Evenfall? How is he a destructive force?
  • Everyone at Evenfall keeps secrets—Gert from Andie, Frank from Clara, Neal from Andie. How do these secrets come to shape these relationships? What are the consequences?
  • After her illness is revealed, Gert opens up to Andie, offering her advice about the importance of the relationships we cultivate. What might have inspired this confession? Why do you think Andie might have been so receptive to hearing it?
  • The importance of home is a central theme of Evenfall. How does the pull of home—and the responsibility of preserving it—shape each of the characters?
  • Did you expect Andie to stay at Evenfall after her break up with Neal, Gert's diagnosis, and the physical destruction of the house? Why do you think she left, and do you think she'll return? Do you think she made the right decision?
  • Customer Reviews

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    Evenfall 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
    mackerelcover More than 1 year ago
    I got this book in the mail yesterday morning and read all day and into the night, just riveted by the characters. Saved the last two chapters to read this morning, to give myself a morning treat. I have not read a book in the last several years that I enjoyed more. I would definitely recommend this book for a book club discussion, and am looking forward to future books by this author.
    NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
    I'm not sure how else to say it but this way -- I really, really didn't want this one to end. Scheduled for release in February of 2011, Liz Michalski's debut novel, Evenfall is quite a story, and one I intentionally slowed down in my reading towards the end because I really didn't want to commit to the fact that all stories have to end. Each chapter of Evenfall takes a third-person point-of-view of three important people: Andie, Frank, and Gert, living on beautiful land in Connecticut called Evenfall. It's land that has been owned for a couple hundred years by one family, and at one time, it was the talk of the town with money galore. But over the past fifty years or so, it's been hard farmland to work, and it's now become simply just a home with work to be done. Evenfall is genuine. Every character had its own peculiarity and distinct personality that it never once felt jarring when the point of view switched from chapter to chapter as it sometimes can in other stories. Their actions were real and organic to who they ultimately were. Even the movements and thoughts of Frank's ghost were written so authentically that I felt confident that this truly would be what a ghost would be able to do, to think, to feel, in their afterlife. I felt surrounded by so many things as I read this. Enveloped by the humid richness of the New England summer, the descriptions of farmland, peaches, and the setting sun so real I could see it before me. And reminder. Regret makes an incredible story, as Liz Michalski does with Evenfall, but it certainly does not make a good life. I was reminded to enjoy the moment, to see what was before me, and to not just pay attention to what, but most especially to whom. Liz Michalski has effortlessly crafted a story that resonates about love and life, and how strong longing can be in the afterlife. What's right is always right, and it doesn't matter when it happens, but making the effort to make it right is a lot better than living a lifetime of regret.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Full of lifr
    OnaPorchswing More than 1 year ago
    This story, rich and sweet, though never saccharin, keeps the reader tantalized throughout. Three characters weave the tale -- Gert, tart-tongued and ailing from age and a broken heart; Andie, a young woman brought home to her family's Connecticut farm to help her aunt (Gert) prepare it for sale when she becomes conflicted between two paramours; and Frank (Andie's uncle and Gert's brother-in-law), recently dead but unable to rest until the two women he loves, find peace. The story is interwoven yet uncomplicated, earnest yet not overly-sentimental. It is a character-driven novel in the truest sense, at a time when plot-heavy books line bookstore windows at the expense of our literary souls. I hope to see more from Ms. Michalski.
    anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
    Evenfall is a story of a lost love. A missed love. In Hartman, Connecticut the beautiful home named Evenfall stands. It's where Frank and Gert fell in love, and where Frank stayed and married Gert's sister, Clara. The unfinished story between Frank and Gert was so strong, it lived even after death--because Frank couldn't leave Gert. Frank's ghost lived on. Reminding Gert of what walking away had cost her. Andie Murphy, is the niece of Frank and Gert. She has come back to Hartman to help her Aunt clean out Evenfall and to run away from her old flame Neal. When she gets home, she begins a relationship with Cort. Cort has been in love with her most of his life, but Andie has no intention of sticking around.  Gert is a hard as nails kind of lady, but Franks presence seems to be drawing her back into the past. Reminiscing about the past softens her. Makes her look on Andie and Cort with new eyes, but will her help be enough when an unexpected visitor suddenly appears. Evenfall, was definitely fresh and different. It was a sad story. I was sad for Gert. Sad for Frank, even for Clara. I found myself believing, better yet understanding why Frank couldn't leave. I wanted them to be able to go back and make different choices. I wanted Andie to stop and make different choices.  I was surprised by the ending. Yet the ending was how real life sometimes is. This is a story that is beautiful because it is so real in its pain, choices, and sadness. A definite recommend. 
    KimBullock More than 1 year ago
    "Nina sees the man first. It’s a warm summer day, the kind where, when I was alive, you’d have found me down by the creek. Fishing, I’d have said if anyone asked, though the only thing worth catching there was a long, cool breeze." These are the opening lines of Evenfall, Liz Michalski’s debut novel. Given my fascination with ghosts, I knew from that second sentence that this was a book I could not put down. The prose is beautiful, the love stories bittersweet, the longing and regret palpable. The house, Evenfall, is not just a setting, but a character. The dog, the cat, even the goats and a snapping turtle are integral to the story, not mere props. The Murphy women, Frank, and Cort are all believably flawed and you love them for it. Neil is so flawed I wished I could scratch his eyes out. Men, don’t be frightened off by “love story.” I know of several guys who openly admit to having enjoyed Evenfall, particularly a certain few pages. Word of warning: don’t hand it to a teenager without reading said pages first.
    DeborahReviews More than 1 year ago
    I read the Publisher's Weekly review with disbelief, honestly. I read it twice, because I thought I must have misread it the first time. Fortunately, the three reviews before me are in accord with what I feel - that this is a shining debut from a fresh, new voice. The premise is original, the story is charming and captivating and the ending is satisfying and stays with you. I could not put this book down and look forward to much more from this talented writer.
    harstan More than 1 year ago
    In Hartman, Connecticut, when her Uncle Frank Wildermuth died, Andie Murphy returns to Evenfall to help her Aunt Gert cope with her loss and handle the estate. Andie has a personal reason for coming to the farm that she enjoyed visiting as a child; to escape as her last relationship recently ended poorly. Gert and her niece are fleeing memories of the men in their lives as they struggle to adapt to their different loss. Gert always loved Frank but he married her late sister Clara instead. Though the farm contains whispers, neither women realizes the source. Filled with remorse almost his entire life when he chose the wrong sibling as a teen, Frank's ghost refuses to move on until he helps his sister-in-law and niece move on with their lives. Albeit a story about a ghost who understands the maxim never to give up, Evenfall is much more a profound character study that looks deep into the souls of three people. The story line rotates lead as each protagonist and the farm come across as genuine and unique. Readers will answer affirmative when asked do you believe in ghosts upon reading Liz Michalski's warm relationship drama. Harriet Klausner