When Laurie Sassalyn’s cherished Aunt Dot dies at the age of 93, Laurie returns to her hometown of Calcasset, Maine to settle her estate. Laurie is also licking her wounds after calling off her wedding, having decided that like Dot, she never wants to marry. Dot’s house is filled with mementos from her adventure-filled life, and while Laurie was young, it helped provide Laurie with a retreat from her own home that she shared with four brothers and never-ending chaos. Now that Laurie is almost 40, she’s built a life and home like Dot’s for herself in Seattle, where she lives in peace as a freelance nature writer with a busy social life with friends.
Laurie believes that Dot’s things deserve respect and intends to go through each item before returning to Seattle. She has hired a professional declutterer to help her with the valuables. This man takes a keen interest in a wooden duck that Laurie uncovered hidden in Dot’s cedar chest. Laurie knows that this duck was somehow important to Dot, and isn’t sure she wants to part with it, but the declutterer insists it is worthless. Laurie lets the duck go, but cannot stop thinking about it, and when she enlists the help of her life-long friend June and her high school boyfriend Nick Cooper – now the (divorced) town librarian, the two encourage her to dig into the duck’s history.
The more time Laurie spends in Maine, the more she begins to doubt her life choices. She is drawn to Nick, but knows she will be leaving soon. She misses her hometown and friends there, but isn’t willing to sacrifice her independence. Laurie has some choices to make -but first, she has a duck to recapture.
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes is a warm and funny, cozy romantic read, perfect for these early Autumn days. With likeable, atypical characters who have real-world problems and no easy solutions, this novel is about being comfortable in one’s own skin, celebrating one’s independence and ability to compromise, and the road not taken.