A gripping, emotional, life-affirming story you’ll want to recommend to a friend


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...

Praise for Duckling

'A poignant read' Woman's Own

'[I] loved this gorgeous, funny, poignant and very human book' Rowan Coleman

'Underlines the importance of friendship, community and family while maintaining a galloping plot that keeps you gripped until the last page' Sarah J Harris

'A lovely, heart-warming story about the importance of friendship and family, the power of forgiveness and about learning to love yourself' Clare Swatman

'Duckling is joyous, life-affirming and refreshing' - Joanne Harris

'Combines uplifting and poignant moments with a plot that is so gripping it had me feverishly turning the pages!' Jessica Ryn

'Charming and compassionate, dark at times yet peppered with joy' Eleanor Ray


  • Uplifting, heart-warming and with characters you truly root for, I couldn't put [Duckling] down. It underlines the importance of friendship, community and family while maintaining a galloping plot that keeps you gripped until the last page. Highlight recommend a read
    Sarah J Harris

About the author

Eve Ainsworth

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

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more