Starry Skies in Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May
Ferry Lane Market in beautiful Cornwall is a very special place, and in this second book in a trilogy, some of the characters introduced in the first sparking novel appear once more. At the heart of this well written novel is a friendly community of market traders, cafe owners and ferry operators. This is a novel that continues the themes and characters of the first book, but could easily be read as a standalone book of families, friends and romance. A small town in Cornwall is a popular setting for a contemporary novel, and this one is especially interesting for the characters who visit from other parts of the world. The first novel took one character around the world; in this book the main protagonist is happy in Cornwall, but not everyone begins their story there. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this funny, touching and charming book.
Star Bligh is a fascinating character, developing her own business of crystals and handmade jewelry which attract both locals and visitors. Mother to Skye, her teenage daughter is less troubling than her mother who insists on living in a static caravan using some dubious substances. Star is coping, but still misses an elusive man who was also introduced in the first novel, Jack, with whom she definitely formed a link. Her beloved Auntie Flo tells her to seize every chance of happiness, which is not always easy for a young woman who has had to cope with so much. When the handsome and friendly Connor appears on the scene they discover something of an attraction based on a shared sense of humour and much more. Connor has something of a past, but seems to revel in the life of the small community. Star becomes involved, but struggles to forget her profound if brief encounter with Jack. As life becomes more challenging and confused, it seems that she has to make some decisions that she could never have foreseen.
Meanwhile the lives of the other characters proceed alongside Star’s dilemma. Her best friend Kara Moon has now found real love with Billy and seems to be settling down after her exciting travels, though she is concerned for Star and her difficulties. Billy has largely taken over running the ferry from her father, but his twin brother Darren is struggling. Joe Moon, Kara’s father, has fallen in love with a nurse, Pearl, who has occasion to use her professional skills and natural generosity. Meanwhile a character from the first novel is finding life very different in America. Estelle, Star’s mother, swings from vulnerability to a determination to keep secrets from Star, and it is only Flo who can seemingly provide a stable basis for her, despite her articulate parrot.
This is a warm and lovely book, which takes as its quotation “If you do not love too much, you do not love enough” from Blaise Pascal. It looks at love from various angles, from family, friends and others, and the power of genuine friendship. As Christmas draws near, the weather even in this idyllic corner of the country gets more challenging, and the urge to become cosy suits the season. This is a book of gentle escapism, with the humour of natural dialogue. I recommend this as a peaceful book for the season of friendship and humour, a gentle observation of life in a small community.