This is a silly, inconsequential—one might almost say *cozy*—book that is largely about the retrieval of a wooden duck, and I liked it very much.
I really love Linda Holmes. I’m in for her whole thing, after this book. I was hoping Evvie Drake Starts Over wouldn’t be a fluke, and it wasn’t. While I didn’t like Flying Solo as much as I loved Evvie Drake, this was a really good time.
You don’t often get stories from the POV of a woman who isn’t interested in a traditional romantic relationship (and is just fine on her own, thank you, hence the title). In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read one that was also a romance, at least where the arc of the book wasn’t to rid the troublesome spinster of her delusions. Here, our thirty-nine year old main character Laurie, who pretty recently canceled her own wedding, is back in her hometown for the first significant period of time since leaving for college two decades before.
Unfortunately, it’s to help her family clean out her recently deceased great-aunt’s house in order to prep it for sale. Laurie was very close to her aunt, almost closer to her aunt than her own mother, who had a full house of many boy children in addition to Laurie (I don’t remember exactly how many, but it was a lot). Like Laurie herself, her aunt was a solo act, very much on purpose. We of course get a very nice emotional arc for Laurie, in which she learns that just because she doesn’t want the life that everyone expects her to want (marriage, house, kids) doesn’t mean she can’t find her own way to having romance in her life.
But also, the duck. She finds this old wooden duck in a chest in her aunt’s bedroom when she’s cleaning it out, as well as an old letter with the mysterious phrase, “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.” She’s at first told the duck is worthless, but when it goes missing from her aunt’s house, a series of ridiculous events ensue. What kind of secrets was Dot keeping? Where did she get the duck? And why would someone want it bad enough to steal it.
I just had a really genuine good time with this book, and though the romance is secondary here, the main plot is so fun it’s totally worth giving a shot. I also really, really liked her love interest, and I thought the way things resolved felt exactly right.
“But if you’re surprised that I’m excited to see Lisa after four days, then I’m glad you didn’t marry Chris. Because you deserve to miss the hell out of somebody after four days, and you deserve to have them miss you too.”
CBR BINGO: Bird