I love finding authors I’ve not read before and getting to read their books. Especially if they’ve been around before now, and I get to pick up a new book by them. It means there’s more for me to go back and explore when I’m done. That was my plan when I heard about the blog tour for Eve Ainsworth’s Duckling. It’s her first adult book, and it looked like it would be very cute and emotional. That was far from all I got though, and I clearly didn’t know what I was getting in for with this book. Thanks so much to Marie-Louise from Penguin Random House for letting me be part of this tour. I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to read this book.
Lucy’s always had the nickname Duckling, and though it bugs her, she can’t help but think that it fits. She’s reluctant to leave her nest, and when a neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a bit, Lucy agrees as it isn’t supposed to be for long. Then when she doesn’t come back that night, Lucy has to start taking care of this little girl, and her life is turned upside down.
I was expecting something a bit chick-lit like with this book. Instead, it felt like a mix of an emotional contemporary and a mystery book. That’s far from a bad thing. It was just totally different to what I thought this book was. It was a pleasant surprise though, and I quickly found myself sucked in. I will admit that despite the intrigue, I didn’t find this book quick to get through as it did trigger my anxiety somewhat. There’s a lot of discussion of parental death. I’m lucky to have not dealt with that yet. but it did get me worrying about it. So if that sort of thing triggers you, be forewarned that it’s an important theme in this book.
Our protagonist Lucy is described as an unlikely heroine, and you see why. She’s not a rebel, but she’s not a people-pleaser either. She lives her life quietly, and in the only way she knows how. She has routines she likes to follow, and she thinks she’s happier that way. As the book goes on, she begins to realise that perhaps she should live her life a little more. But she was somewhat relatable. I do have friends, and I don’t live her sort of routine. But I do tend to mostly stick to myself, and maybe there are things I could try just to live my life a little more. Take more chances. But overall, Lucy was a good woman with a good heart, and I felt for her. Especially for the worry, she’s been carrying around since she was a kid.
I mentioned this book is part mystery, and that mystery is finding out where Rubi’s mum has disappeared to. All Rubi wants is her mum back, and Columbo-loving Lucy has a niggling feeling that she hasn’t just walked away. They spend their time asking questions of people and looking around, but the detective work isn’t done alone. There’s a neighbour kid who helps out, as well as Lucy’s boss and romantic-interest Jimmy. There’s not a massive amount of sleuthing, but it got me thinking which is what a good mystery does.
Though there is some romance in this book, it’s more hints of it than anything else. I thought it was cute, and Jimmy was a great potential partner. He has good taste in films for one thing. Also, he manages a book shop so pretty much a dream boyfriend right there, ha!
This book is very much a journey about Lucy stepping out of her comfort zone and finding herself. It takes looking after a little girl and spending more time with her dad and boss to realise, but she gets there in the end. Though I wouldn’t necessarily want a sequel, I would like to know what Lucy does next. Especially after the loss, she faced. But I think across the book she became stronger, and that was wonderful to see.
Even after reading this book, I still know what genre to label it as but in the best way. Duckling will make you laugh, cry and want to solve the mystery for them. It’s a hard read in places but one that’s so worth it in the end.
Author: Eve Ainsworth
Age Range: Adult
Release Date: 26/5/22