Cover Image: Duckling


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Member Reviews

Duckling is the beautiful and emotional adult debut of author Eve Ainsworth. Duckling is quite simply a beautiful read. It’s full of heart and emotion. It’s a book that makes you truly feel as you read it. With so much depth to it, it’s charming, dark in places, makes you laugh, makes you cry. But ultimately you come away from reading it happy, and glad you did.

Reading Duckling is like peeling an onion it has so many layers, each bringing something new and enriching the story. Every character has a purpose and their own arc. But what’s so special about this book is seeing Lucy’s journey and the growth she has throughout the book.

If you love a book that lingers with you long after you’ve read it, you need to get a copy of Duckling!
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Grungy and shabby and hostile world where people are doing their best to survive. Lucy cannot forgive herself for the past and hides in her council apartment, not letting anyone in. But when her neighbour pleads with her to look after her daughter for a couple of hours, Lucy has to agree. The problem is that Cassie doesn't come home. Lucy has to interact with Rubi, and her dad and other people to help reunite Rubi with her mum. Well written, makes you feel the desperation and hardship, and then the hope at the end
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A lovely easy reading, holiday book.  Follow the story of Duckling as she finds love through the care of a little one .

Pick this and you won't be disappointed.
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A story with heart….what a gem of a book we have here with duckling and how you feel for the main character, it’s uplifting and sad and emotional and everything else in between, brilliant just brilliant
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I’m struggling to fully decide how I feel having just finished Duckling. It wasn’t what I was expecting going in (the cover and title threw me a bit) as it turned into more of a mystery/almost-thriller towards the end, but I can’t say I disliked it either. The characters were unique and believable, shaped by their own trauma and experiences which we learn more about as we get further into the story, and I did really enjoy the final few chapters as we wrapped up the loose ends which had been hinted at throughout.

<spoiler>There were elements of romance, grief, abuse, and so much more</spoiler>, and they all came together well in an enjoyable, tense-at-times story. I’m not sure it’ll be the most memorable book for me but it was still very well written with twists I didn’t see coming, just maybe not for me. 

Thank you to NetGalley for very kindly sending me an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. I have chosen to write this honest review voluntarily and it reflects my personal opinion.
This story seems to progress very slowly at the start as we become familiar with Lucy's character: a shy, isolated 30-year-old who relies on her routines to get her through each week. The childhood which has led her to behave this way is only revealed slowly throughout the book. The plotline of Cassie and Rubi is merely the vehicle for this story about friendship, relationships and living life with the support of others. It is an emotional and complex read and I recommend time is taken to absorb the themes rather than just focusing on the story.
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“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…

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.

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.

This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Cornerstone.
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Lucy is a loner who keeps to herself and avoids engaging with others as much as possible. When her new neighbour, Cassie,  a single mum, begs her to look after her 7 year old daughter Rubi for a couple of hours while she runs an errand, Lucy is alarmed but reluctantly agrees. When Cassie doesn’t return, Lucy suspects that something is very wrong. To care for Rubi and to find Cassie, she will need to open up and accept help from others, before it is too late. This is an appealing and warm story about a young woman with a sad past who has withdrawn from life, but who gets the chance to start again and find new confidence in herself. In our current troubled times, this genre of story has become increasingly popular, and “Duckling” deserves to do well. Unusually, the characters are working rather than middle class and it is set on an estate with a mixture of people, some who have difficult life situations but others who rise above them, which is refreshing. A light but enjoyable read.
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No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into this book. The premise sounded amazing and the couple of reviews I'd seen were good, but I found the writing felt a little too simplistic and the story didn't flow. I couldn't connect with the main character Lucy, was she supposed to be neurodiverse? The plot moved along slowly and predictably, and I found myself not drawn to picking it up at all. I had to DNF around half way. That said, I can see why people would rate it highly and it certainly wasn't a 'bad book', it just wasn't for me.
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This story deal with unhappiness and also addiction there is a mystery involved in this book.  I was engrossed from the start wanted to know what happens.

Lucy lives on her own keeps herself to herself and works in a bookshop she doesn’t change her routine.  Her Dad has always called her Duckling which she has always hated,  Cassie is a neighbour of Lucy and she asks her to look after her daughter Rubi for a few hours.  This is the start of the mystery Cassie seems to have disappeared will she be found, she usually never lets Rubi out if her sight.  Jimmy is Lucy’s boss and ends up helping her look for Cassie.

This book is also about misunderstanding where Lucy and her Dad never really talked properly if they had maybe things might have been different between them.

I would recommend this book and enjoyed the characters in the book you could relate to them.
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I definitely wasn’t expecting Cassie’s favour to end the way it did, or that it would lead Lucy on a journey of total rediscovery but thank goodness it did! Lucy was living such a sad and lonely life, unwilling to let herself be loved after the trauma of her past, and yet helping little Rubi seemed to awaken a purpose in her and also meant she had to ask for help. 
Being along on the journey while they worked out what had happened to Cassie was interesting and it was nicely paced. Jimmy was the absolute icing on the cake! A lovely read and very touching,
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Fantastic, moving story with real heart. You really feel for Duckling and everything she and her friends go through. As a reader, it was easy to empathise with her and doubt her father changing. There were some tough addiction, anxiety and loss themes that are handled with the upmost care by the author. A truly beautiful book, and I’m thankful for the chance to read and review it.
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'Duckling' by Eve Ainsworth is a life-affirming, heart-warming tale of Lucy, a lonely, shy young woman who gets left with her neighbour's child one day. Rubi is a precocious but loveable little girl of nearly 8, who gradually wins Lucy's love, and at the same time teaches her to trust again. 

This was a simple, fun, easy and quick read. The perfect type of book for your holiday, beach, pool kind of read. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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The premise of the book sounded like a nightmare. Thirty year old Lucy (whose father nicknames her Duckling) is asked by a neighbour, Cassie, to babysit her seven year old daughter whilst she ‘nips’ out. Reclusive and shy, Lucy is reluctant however, as the reader will discover she is a kind and generous person, albeit tainted by the demons of her past.
Things take an unexpected turn and Cassie fails to materialise leaving Lucy trying to navigate not only what it entails looking after seven year old Rubi but also trying to discover what has happened to her neighbour. The vast majority of the novel then reveals around the idea of growth and personal discovery. Lucy discovers there are people who want to be with her namely in the form of Jimmy, her boss from the book shop in which she works. She also works to make amends with her father and her own past which forms a touching part of the novel.
Relationships are definitely foregrounded within the text, not just relationships with parents or children but rather wider societal relationships and, most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself. Watching Lucy’s ‘duckling’ character flourish and reach a point of connection and understanding was poignant and enjoyable. The book reminded me of Gail Honeyman’s ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ in that the central protagonist in that text works to find her way and place within the world. 
Location wise, the setting of the novel, predominantly in a housing estate in London, worked to explore notions of attitudes towards social class and social division. At one point a character articulates a reluctance to visit the police precisely because of how he will be perceived in contrast to the central protagonist and so the writer was asking us as readers to consider our own prejudices and misconceptions.
Overall, it was an engaging read and one that I am sure readers will enjoy.
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Lucy, called Duckling from a young age by her recovering alcoholic father, has a very quiet life. She's content to live alone, watch Columbo and go ri work in a bookshop. She had some contact with her next door neighbour but when she dies Lucy has no friends around her and she's content with that. When her new neighbour asks her to look after her young daughter Rubi for a few hours she's reluctant, but agrees. But the neighbour doesn't come home and she finds herself in a mystery like her precious Columbo and is taken well out of her comfort zone. 

Let me start by saying this book won't be for everyone. It's more of a downer than the description provides.  Often in books with a young woman "finding herself" it's done with fun and laughter, and often a makeover. You won't find that here. For a good portion of the book not all that much happens at all and if you're quick to give up, you probably will with this. 

But give it a chance. At first I didn't like the characters much, although Lucy's life isn't a far cry from my own. Maybe that's why I kept reading, to tell the truth. There's something real about the characters and the story.  These are people struggling with their own demons and doing their best. Lucy's relationship with her dad, although dysfunctional in some ways, feels authentic.  

Did I love it? Not quite, but I'm glad I didn't give up. If you're looking for a fluffy chicklit, this isn't it. But it's worth a try if you want something with a little more bite and drama. It's not entirely unpredictable but still a worthy read.
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Duckling gave me all the feels. Such a warm, heartfelt story of human kindness and its power to change lives.

Lucy aka Duckling lives a small, safe life. A life of routine and solitude. She's afraid to let anyone close to her and her life has been one of trauma and hurt.

When her neighbour Cassie asks her to babysit her young daughter, Rubi, for a few hours, Lucy has no idea that her life is about to turn on its head. For Cassie doesn't return after a few hours. Nor the next day. And it soon becomes clear that something is awry. And for the first time, Lucy discovers she is not as alone as she always thought. Her gorgeous boss Jimmy steps up to be by her side, and her troubled father also comes through for her.

Filled with sadness and joy, Duckling is a book that leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling and captures your heart in all the best ways.
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Lucy's father always called her Duckling which she hated. A new neighbour Cassie asks Lucy to watch her daughter Rubi for a few hours. It turns our more than a few hours. A bit of a mix this book turning into a bit of a mystery and has Lucy thinking what her favourite tv detective Columbo would do. Loved it
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A bit of a slow burner.
Lucy`s life is full of routine`s and she keeps to herself and works in a local book shop, then one day her new neighbour Cassie asks her to look after her 7yr old daughter Rubi for a couple of hours but time goes on and she has not returned a couple of days later but Lucy does not want to involve the police and as her favourite TV show is Columbo so she decides to investigate herself with the help of her boss Jimmy.
An enjoyable book with sad bits which brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I enjoyed the book and the story was unique and interesting. I really liked the character of Rubi and I loved the way that Lucy’s character developed throughout the story. There are many layers to this book and whilst all of them interweave I sometimes felt that there was maybe a bit too much going on.
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After reading the description I wanted to love this book but I just couldn't get into the story. I'm sure a lot of people would love it, but sadly this one isn't for me
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