Summary (from the publisher):Smarting from her recently cancelled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be ninety. Along with boxes of Polaroids and pottery, a mysterious wooden duck shows up at the bottom of a cedar chest. Laurie’s curiosity is piqued, especially after she finds a love letter to the never-married Dot that ends with the line, “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”
Laurie is told that the duck has no financial value. But after it disappears under suspicious circumstances, she feels compelled to figure out why anyone would steal a wooden duck–and why Dot kept it hidden away in the first place. Suddenly Laurie finds herself swept up in a righteous caper that has her negotiating with antiques dealers and con artists, going on after-hours dates at the local library, and reconnecting with her oldest friend and first love. Desperate to uncover her great-aunt’s secrets, Laurie must reckon with her past, her future, and ultimately embrace her own vision of flying solo.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over is a beloved contemporary fiction read, and I was thus really looking forward to her latest release, Flying Solo. If you are ever in the mood for a quiet & cozy read, then Flying Solo is the absolute book for you.
Flying Solo follows nature writer, Laurie, who returns to her coastal Maine hometown after her beloved great aunt Dot passes away, and Laurie volunteers to handle the estate of the adventurer. Dot’s home was always a refuge to Laurie growing up, having been the only girl in a family with four brothers and constantly desiring a chaos-free space like Dot’s. Laurie finds a duck decoy amongst Dot’s things – Dot was known for her global adventures and quietness surrounding her relationships – and Laurie can’t help but figure out why Dot has this duck and enlists the help of her best friend and high school boyfriend to help her out. The three soon find themselves dealing with antiques dealers, a potential con dealer, and some of Dot’s old flames in order to solve the mystery…and figure out why Laurie is so drawn to this decoy.
It took me the first fifty or pages or so to settle into Flying Solo. I fully loved this story in its last quarter, not wanting it to end because I wanted the best for Laurie herself…and yes, Laurie and her love interest. The book is set in the same town as Evvie Drake Starts Over, and I loved returning to coastal Maine. The book has such sweet characters – I LOVED Nick and his grandmother – and you want to root for everyone to have their own happy ending.
I know some people are mixed about the duck decoy mystery and it not really grabbing them, but I actually really liked the plot and did find myself more invested in Laurie’s relationships. I think Laurie discovering the duck’s origins was super important as a homage to her relationship with her aunt and seeing some similarities between one another that she perhaps hadn’t realized before. I really loved the themes surrounding not just second chance romance, but also non-traditional relationships and independence, as Laurie does not want to upend her life and return back to Maine and get married. I haven’t seen a character like this before and I feel like it was so relevant based on today’s conversations surrounding relationships.
Have you read Flying Solo? Have you read Evvie Drake Starts Over? What are your thoughts? Share in the comments!