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Duck of Romance and Cheerios

Ducks and Chucks,

I've never been a duck of romance, but Star my human is, and it's important that I support them when they're diving into books in order to feel a duck of a lot better! You see, under a pen name, Star used to be a bestselling romance author who published books with Harper Collins among others, so it's clear they love the genre. EVEN SO, when it comes to Star's current escapist read, I find I get confused. So, Star, here are my questions:

Duck: In Resisting The Sicilian Playboy by Amanda Cinelli, the story starts with a character named Dara literally scaling the exterior of a nightclub building in a pair of high heels. Why is she not wearing some sensible pumps? Anything other than Crocs would probably be a duck of a lot safer than the high heels, no?

Star: But Duck, it's super-ducking awesome that the book starts with Dara scaling the sheer walls of a nightclub building! She's a go-getter, an ambitious wedding planner who's doing everything she can to get her dream client's dream venue, which just happens to be the castello that Leo, the nightclub owner, owns. But he's so famous that getting near him is impossible!

Duck: Unless she scales the building in her heels? Wedding planning is almost as dangerous as being a duck, except that ducks have flippers!

Star: Well, I'd say, in general, a great plot has high stakes. And scaling that building in heels provides some high stakes from the very beginning! Might I suggest, Duck, that you have a little more faith in Dara? She's a heroine with such a fiery heart and thirst for success that she'll scale a tall building. Enticing, right?

Duck: Maybe if I just pushed an inflatable underneath her at street level, she'd be a bit safer. If she falls though, will her spiky heels puncture said inflatable though? Duck-dammit, it will, especially if she's wearing Louboutins! It will duck-flate! See what I mean, Star? Flippers are definitely safest. And I wish I'd never mentioned the Crocs.

Star: Crocs are a very specific style choice that are maybe not conducive of impressing sexy, rich guys—and she does impress him. It's an enticing "in" for her!

Duck: Got it. So, the high heels/sheer building thing is beak-stuffingly entertaining if you aren't a duck-sized pond manager who's a little too obsessed with logistics?

Star: Hmm. Maybe. But the truth is this is a flipper-tastic novel! I was super-engaged. I don't like the title—it doesn't feel good to stereotype Leo, or others like him, in that way. But the novel is from 2015 and romance has seen changes since then. As for the book itself, there's a very moving moment when Leo, the hero, reveals how hard his life has been. He seems like this high-rolling guy of privilege, but he hasn't come from privilege. The truth is, he's in some ways a broken child with a deeply traumatic past. The handles this so beautifully. For me, it's the high point of the book—so well-written and so very moving.

Duck: And that's flipper-ticklingly satisfying! I do like the book's back story. I'm just suggesting some comfy sneakers and some kind of inflatable, trampoline-type device. Some abseiling equipment would lend to the excitement without dampening the romance elements!

Star: Hmm. Maybe you'd do better with a mystery novel, Duck.

Duck: But aren't there usually dead ducks in mystery novels?

Star: Not if you choose the ones about humans! Although to be fair, I expect that can sometimes depend on whether they're vegetarians or not....

Duck: Moving swiftly on from discussions of ovens, let's just say I'm duck-termined to become a duck of romance! Romance novels give you a lot of joy, Star and I am your plush duck! I am ready to learn!

Star: You're the best, ducky-doo.

Duck: While I'm at it, Star, another question: As a British duck, I have a fond attachment to the word "cheerio," which my best frenemy Sir Mallard uses as a charming English way of saying goodbye. Which brings me to this: Why IN THE NAME OF DUCK is there a cereal named Cheerios? Your breakfast should never say goodbye to you, especially when you're just about to start eating it.

Star: And on that note, we'll see you later, friends.

Duck: Loves ya!


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