The duck in question is 6-foot tall country girl Ana, all nubby black cardigan and old jeans who "sometimes wondered if she was cursed". Even her neurotically awful mother wonders: "how a girl as unattractive as you could have possibly come from my body, I have no idea". Things are made even more difficult by Bee, Anna's wonderful, urban, older half sister--"petite, big bosomed and pretty"--who once had a hit single called "Groovin' For London", and who is now mysteriously dead.
Anna comes to London to discover what happened, and it's a sobering, yet enlightening experience. Bee had a terrible secret, which she did a good job of hiding from her family and friends in a splash of designer clothes and glamorous opinions. She may have been "vain, flirtatious and self absorbed" and nearly famous, but she was also deeply depressed ("she just existed"). As Anna gradually uncovers the hidden Bee, she's forced to reassess her old life and her ambitions, transforming herself into a kind, witty attractive woman, who wins the heart of a handsome man in the process. Lisa Jewell tells the familiar story in earthy, immediate language and with such relish for contemporary life that it is impossible not to be engaged and entertained. --Eithne Farry