Duckling by Eve Ainsworth | Book Review

“You said earlier that I call you Duckling as some kind of joke. Because I see you as clumsy or something. But it was never that. … Don’t you see  – a duckling is a creature finding its way. It’s hopeful, innocent. A duckling is someone with their life ahead of them, waiting for their opportunity to fly.

Lucy’s life is small, but safe. She’s got a good routine. But all that’s about to change…

When Lucy’s neighbour asks her to look after her little girl for a couple of hours – and then doesn’t come back – Lucy is suddenly responsible for someone other than herself.

It takes courage to let the outside world in, and Lucy’s about to learn there’s much more to life – but only if she’s brave enough to spread her wings…

22. Duckling

Lucy is an unusually tall (6’2″), socially awkward woman. So when her new neighbours, Cassie and Rubi, barge into her quiet life, Lucy is not pleased about it. To make matters worse, only a few days later Cassie knocks on her door, asking her to look after Rubi, her precocious seven-year-old, for a few hours.

When the hours turn into a day with no sign of Cassie’s return, Lucy knows something is wrong. Despite others reminding her of the possibility that Cassie has most likely abandoned her daughter for a better life, Lucy is convinced Cassie is in trouble. With absolutely no leads to follow, she doesn’t have the first idea where to start looking. Nor can she go to the police incase her actions put Rubi into the social system. She turns to Columbo, her favourite TV detective, for help, and begins to piece together an impossible puzzle.

This is Lucy’s story all the way – about her growing into a new person, discovering the experiences she blocked herself from, and embracing a world she refused to let herself see. Her journey is propelled by Cassie’s disappearance which adds an intense, mysterious arc to the plot.

Rubi is a bubbly young girl with an opinion on everything, which is too much for Lucy to handle. She’s also only seven and is confused why her mother hasn’t come back to her as she promised. But she is unshakeable in her belief that Cassie would never abandon her.

As Lucy and Rubi put their heads together to find Cassie, they begin to grow on each other and are able to understand each other’s point of view.

The book deals with some grim realities that people have to deal with in order to survive. It shows the dark side of life and yet shines light on the small joys that help one move forward step-by-tiny-step.

I particularly enjoyed Lucy’s growth as a character – taking a challenge head on, stepping out of her space to talk about her past, and opening her heart to the idea of love. 

Inspiring and uplifting, this is a reminder to love yourself in spite of everything. A compelling story that tugs at your heart while keeping you engrossed within its pages.

Duckling by Eve Ainsworth. Published in May 2022 by Cornerstone, Penguin Random House UK. This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Cornerstone.

Book 22 of 2022.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: As the quote at the beginning of the review states, this duckling is ready to take flight.
The paper duckling is made using origami in 80gsm handmade paper. 
22. Ducklingb
 
About the Author: Eve Ainsworth is a working class award-winning and Carnegie nominated children’s author who has written for both middle grade and teen readers. Duckling is her debut adult novel.
Eve has vast experience working as a public speaker and creative workshop coordinator for schools, libraries and other events both nationally and internationally. She is also an experienced mentor and is very passionate about helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Eve was born and raised in Crawley, West Sussex and is one of seven children. After her degree, she had a varied background working within HR and Recruitment roles, before moving in a role she loves – mentoring and supporting challenging and vulnerable children in both secondary and primary schools. Eve is fiercely proud of her working class roots and her large, loud family. She still lives in Crawley with her husband, two young children, crazy dog and two very naughty cats.
You can reach her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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