Rainbows End in Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May – Glanna learns about art, other people and herself in a lively novel

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.     

Starry Skies in Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May – a cosy story of life and love in a small Cornish coastal town

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.    

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May – a Cornish community with a warm atmosphere

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May 

Hartmouth in Cornwall is a special place. It is very special to thirty-three year old Kara Moon, where she lives at the centre of a small community. Her father runs the local ferry boat that enables locals and tourists to visit the market which runs two days a week, and when he was abandoned by Kara’s mother he was traumatised. Unwilling to leave her vulnerable father alone, Kara gave up her college place to study floristry; she still loves flowers and works long hours for a local florist. It is when she finally gives up on a long term boyfriend and throws him out of her home that she realises that she must make a new start. 

This is a lively novel of people in a setting of a close community which works well; the writing is sparkling and mature while the overall story is well constructed with some twists and turns. There is romance, but that is only one element of a story which celebrates family life, friendship and the need for adventure and new beginnings. There are some truly touching moments as well as some funny incidents, linked by lively dialogue. Kara and the other characters are well drawn, consistent and really come alive. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this novel.

The book begins with Kara trying to cope with a difficult terrapin called Sid Vicious which belongs to her feckless boyfriend Jago.He is unemployed, obsessed with the Beatles and evidently a drain on Kara’s resources in every respect. This particular Friday she is going to take action with the support of her long term friend Star, who runs a shop in the village. It would seem that Kara is painfully aware of Jago’s failings, and begins to realise that she has taken too long to get rid of him. On her journey to where she knows he will be, she encounters her father’s assistant on the ferry, Billy Dillon, who despite being younger than Kara, has strong feelings for her. There are other people who have a real affection for Kara. Probably the closest is her grandfather, Harry, who lives with her father Joe. The shopkeepers and cafe owners are all happy to see her, and it is obvious that she is a local favourite. Finding herself living alone, her friend Star suggests that she takes in AirB&B guests, and in those first few weeks she meets some interesting people from various parts of the world. Her realisation that there is more of the world to discover may well come to some special climax when she is offered the opportunity of a lifetime – but will she take it?

This is a very special book which is optimistic in its tone, as there are some satisfying events, discoveries and revelations throughout. Kara is a well rounded character who is naturally popular and shows some very human traits. Her relationship with her family is realistic, including her sister who left to go to University and never returned to Hartmouth. This is an enjoyable book which I really recommend to anyone who likes contemporary fiction with romance and community life set in beautiful Cornwall, and adventures elsewhere.