ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Duckling by Eve Ainsworth #BlogTour

It’s my stop on the blog tour today for Duckling by Eve Ainsworth which is published by Century/Penguin and out now in paperback and eBook. My thanks to Marie-Louise Patton for the proof copy of the book and the place on the tour.

Duckling’s a nickname Lucy has never been able to shake off.
And, if she’s honest, maybe it suits her.
She just isn’t the type to socialise with other people.
You might say she’s reluctant to leave her nest.

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…

Duckling is the nickname given to Lucy by her father. Now 30, the name has stuck throughout her life. Lucy has always felt a little awkward, like she doesn’t fit in anywhere, and keeps herself very much to herself. Her life consists of her flat, her cat, Boris, her job at the bookshop working alongside the manager, Jimmy, keeping an eye on her dad, and watching her favourite TV detective, Columbo.

When her neighbour, Cassie, unexpectedly leaves Lucy to look after Rubi, her 7 year old daughter, and doesn’t come back when she says she will, Lucy finds herself thrust into a different kind of life, one where she realises that if she’s going to reunite Cassie and Rubi she needs to open up and let people into her life.

This is Eve Ainsworth’s first adult novel. Whilst the themes are quite gritty, I think the author’s experience in writing for children keeps the tone still fairly light and brimming with compassion and empathy. Although primarily a story about Lucy’s transformation from metaphorical duckling to swan, there’s also a detective story to follow as she, Rubi and other helpers try to work out why Cassie has left Rubi for so long. The characterisations are a delight, right down to Boris and Colin, Cassie and Rubi’s snuffly little pug.

What a lovely book Duckling is. I enjoyed it immensely. Pushing Lucy out of her comfort zone makes for a really uplifting story that I found thoroughly satisfying and totally charming. It felt fresh and different and I thought it flowed beautifully. It was a real pleasure to read and I hope Ainsworth writes more adult novels. I’ll definitely read them if she does.

Eve Ainsworth is a working class award-winning and Carnegie nominated children’s author who has written for both middle grade and teen readers.Β 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 also is 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.

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