Rainbows End in Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May
Ferry Lane Market in Cornwall is a community with its fair share of characters, some of whom have featured in the first two books in this series by the talented Nicola May. This third book could be read as a standalone novel; the main protagonists have their own stories, and previous characters appear more on the edge of the narrative. Having said that, this is a well populated novel with a strong story and well established main characters who each face their own challenges. A contemporary story, it reveals a lot of understanding of the world of art in terms of painting. It has some interesting character combinations, some wicked humour as well as amusing dialogue which reveals so much about the characters. Glanna Pascoe’s story is a fantastic blend of a woman who has tried to have it all, had all sorts of adventures, but has now realised that at thirty nine she is effectively alone. Her parents, both well depicted in their own ways, are not together – not that they ever have been officially, but Glanna is now struggling to cope with her demanding mother. While she runs a successful small gallery, and has time and space to pursue her own painting, she is often alone, and her therapist can only advise her against the background of her somewhat guilty past. I found this an enjoyable novel with some moving moments as Glanna encounters some new people with unexpected traits, as well as wishing to reconnect with others. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this well written book.
As the book opens, Glanna is having one of her normally difficult conversations with her mother, Penelope Pascoe, who is very wealthy and accordingly demanding. Her mother cannot understand her only child, who is turning down a fortieth birthday party with a suitable roster of guests. In fact she struggles to understand Glanna at all; she has subsidised her daughter’s lifestyle of travelling, university and a destructive taste for alcoholic binges. Galena is aware that her previous choices have not been good; her one good relationship with art teacher Oliver which began when she was in rehab was in some senses thrown away when he wanted children and she became unhappy at the idea. Now Glanna is sober and living alone over the gallery which was leased for her by her mother, as she seeks help from concerned therapist Myles. She has a friend in Kara, and is taking photographs of her upcoming wedding, but she is not really close to anyone except her father Fred Gribble, carpenter and master of many skills, but not sufficiently grand enough for her mother. Nevertheless, Fred has lived at the lodge on Penelope’s estate for decades, and the two see each other as he works to maintain everything from the swimming pool to the horses. He has now decided to try for an independent romance, but Glanna struggles with her father’s choice. Glanna’s other significant other is Banksy, a rescue whippet, who she enjoys walking. It is when she is walking him she encounters Isaac Benson, a very famous local artist who is known as a determined recluse. Keen to distract herself from thoughts of Isaac and indeed Oliver, Glanna decides to start an art group with a startling life class element, and discovers that teaching the painting that she loves is not so easy. As various challenges emerge, Glanna has to wonder who she can trust, and wonder if she will ever make up for past misdeeds.
This is a sensitively written book which makes for an interesting read. It reveals so much about the characters, some elements being completely unexpected. I recommend it as a good read about some of the aspects of women’s lives in the twenty-first century, and indeed the series for a good selection of views of a contemporary community.