Reviews for Flying solo : a novel

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A woman returns to her hometown of Calcasset, Maine, to clean out her recently deceased great-aunt’s house—but runs into a few surprises along the way. When Laurie Sassalyn’s beloved great-aunt Dot dies at the age of 93, Laurie takes on the job of cleaning out her house. Even as a child, Laurie idolized Dot and the life she lived as a single, adventurous woman. Dot traveled, never got married, and (most important to Laurie, who grew up with four brothers and a constant stream of noise) had a silent house. Now that Laurie’s almost 40, she’s re-created Dot’s life for herself in Seattle, where she lives in peace, enjoying her job as a freelance nature writer and spending her free time with her many friends. Cleaning out Dot’s house is a big task, but Laurie thinks Dot deserves the respect of having someone go through her stuff instead of just trashing everything. Alongside the many books and boxes full of old photos, Laurie finds something surprising—a wooden duck, carefully kept in a cedar chest. Laurie can sense that this duck was important to Dot, and she enlists the help of a “bereavement declutterer” to help her discern its value. She also reconnects with librarian Nick Cooper, the high school boyfriend she dumped when she realized that he wanted to stay in Calcasset. Nick and Laurie have both changed over the years—he’s been married and divorced, and she’s broken off an engagement—but what hasn’t changed is their deep connection. Nick and Laurie grow closer as they search for answers about the mysterious duck—especially when their search leads them to what might be the world’s first wooden duck heist. As Laurie’s feelings for Nick grow, she starts to wonder if her friend June is right when she says, “You don’t have to be single to be independent. And you don’t have to be married to be loved.” As in her debut, Evvie Drake Starts Over (2019), Holmes displays a gift for warm, richly drawn characters and situations that are as cozy as a steaming cup of tea. Laurie is refreshing as a heroine who is entering her 40s, a size 18, and completely comfortable with her life as an unmarried, child-free woman. There are no dramatics or big fights between her and Nick—just a believable adult relationship with real-world obstacles. A charming and easygoing look at all kinds of love and the beauty of independence, featuring supremely likable characters. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.