In 2019, I read and reviewed a book by author Linda Holmes called Evvie Drake Starts Over. I liked that book very much. I liked the story of a strong woman who isn’t kicked in the butt when she loses her man, but instead, pulls herself up and makes her life better.
Linda Holmes’ second novel, Flying Solo, has the same theme, and the same good writing.
Laurie Sassalyn, having recently called her marriage, is happy to leave her comfortable life in the northwest to travel to her small hometown in Maine to go through the effects of her favorite aunt who is recently deceased. Her Aunt Dot lived to her mid-90s, and was never married. She was Laurie’s hero because she lived her life to the fullest, traveling all over the world and making fun and interesting friends in the process.
As Laurie sifts through all of Dot’s things, she discovers at the bottom of an old chest a wooden duck. As if her aunt inexplicably owning a wooden duck isn’t odd enought, Laurie also discovers an unsigned love letter that ends with, “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”
Laurie takes the duck to a person who values estates and is told that the duck has no financial value. Laurie doesn’t mind, but intends to keep it as a reminder of her eccentric aunt. But then the duck mysteriously disappears, leaving Laurie flummoxed as to why someone would want to steal a duck worth nothing.
Laurie takes it upon herself to begin looking at her aunt’s life more carefully. She connects with an old flame who was her first love, and he helps her research and talk to experts in the antique realm. The more Laurie discovers, the more she sees that her aunt was even more interesting than she had ever imagined.
While I didn’t like this book as much as the author’s debut novel, I enjoyed the learning the mystery of Aunt Dot’s past. I liked that the characters weren’t cookie-cutter stereotypes. Laurie is seemingly comfortable with her weight, which is a refreshing change. Her goals don’t have to include marriage. The ending, in fact, was quite unexpected.
Overall, I recommend this book.