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"Flying Solo" | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider

Sick of the heat—need a light read set in Maine? I suggest “Flying Solo” a simple, yet charming tale about a woman who marches to a different drum, an independent gal who’s in a conundrum about what she really wants out of life.

As a child, Laurie, who’s about to mark her 40th, used to spend quality time at her Aunt Dot’s house. Laurie had four energetic, boisterous brothers and the serenity she seeks can only be found at her aunt’s house, an unmarried woman with a variety of interests, a passion for travel and a history with attractive men. Even though Aunt Dot is actually Laurie’s great aunt, they couldn’t be closer.

Fast forward years ahead and we find Laurie back in her hometown in Maine, direct from her residence in Seattle. She’s planning an extended stay to clean out her late Aunt Dot’s home, her adored aunt passing at 93. Laurie will disburse items to various family members and donate the things no one wants to charity.

Laurie hasn’t really been lucky in love. She was engaged at one point, but shortly before the wedding she called it off. Laurie just couldn’t see herself tied down to one man, wanted to try new things, have new experiences on her own.

But when Laurie runs into an old beau, a man she dated in high school and beyond, her feelings about commitment grow muddled. Laurie was crazy about Nick and still finds the small-town librarian in Calcasset, Maine, charismatic, honest and handsome. What’s a girl to do but pick up where she left off.

As her old/new relationship flourishes, Laurie sorts through her Aunt Dot’s things. Her dear friend June pitches in and Laurie finds a professional too, Matt from Save the Best, to help her declutter, a man the two friends refer to as “the grim reaper.”

When Laurie comes across a carved Wood Duck, safely stored away like a treasure, and signed, she believes it might be by a famous artist, a valuable folk-art piece. Laurie is determined to discover why the Wood Duck was so important to her aunt, believing the duck holds the key to information about her Aunt Dot—perhaps a secret love affair?

Rich with gentle small-town characters and atmosphere, “Flying Solo” gets high marks for escapism. The author’s voice is chipper and optimistic, funny at times too as Laurie finds herself involved in a caper she didn't anticipate.

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