I’m delighted today to be joining the blog tour for Welcome to Ferry Lane Market, the first in a new series from Nicola May, and sharing my review. Published by Hodder, it’s now available for kindle, in paperback, and as an audiobook via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
Do you know, it takes a lot to shock Rachel – but when I said I’d never read a book by Nicola May before I think I took her breath away. I was always very aware of the Cocklebury Bay books, and all those wonderful reviews, but I never seemed to get the opportunity to add one to my reading list – and Nicola’s success as an independent author really has been the stuff of legend. But is there ever any better place to start than with the first book in a new series? I’m just thrilled that I’ve finally had the chance to try her writing…
‘Delightful and witty with a heroine you’ll be rooting for . . . joyful escapism’ Milly Johnson
‘Spirited, adventurous and full of heart!’ Heidi Swain
Although thirty-three-year-old Kara Moon loves her hometown of Hartmouth in Cornwall, she has always wondered if she should have followed her dream of going off to study floristry. But she couldn’t bring herself to abandon her emotionally delicate single father, and has worked on Ferry Lane Market’s flower stall ever since leaving school.
When her good-for-nothing boyfriend cheats on her and steals her life savings, she finally dumps him and rents out her spare room as an Airbnb. Gossip flies around the town as Kara welcomes a series of foreign guests to her flat overlooking the estuary.
Then an anonymous postcard arrives, along with a plane ticket to New York. And there begins the first of three trips of a lifetime, during which she will learn important lessons about herself, her life and what she wants from it – and perhaps find love along the way.
I always love a book with a strong sense of community – and there’s an equally well established sense of place in Kara’s home town of Hartmouth, beautifully described. Ferry Lane Market really was everything I wanted it to be – springing to life from the book’s pages, with a cast of wonderful characters ripe for development in the books that follow this first in series.
Kara herself is one of those characters that you can’t help but take to your heart, but she has been a bit of a doormat in the past – cheating boyfriend Jago has been using her since he moved in eight years before (along with his vicious terrapin Sid Vicious), but she’s finally seen the light and shown him the door, and it’s time to start her own life. She works on the market as a florist – she’s never done any qualifications for all sort of reasons, mainly because of her need to be around to support her father who runs the ferry across the bay. Her boss might be a bit of a nightmare, but she’s surrounded by people who love her and we slowly get to know them all rather better.
Living alone for the first time, she needs an additional source of income – and egged on by her best friend Star, decides to turn her main bedroom into an Airbnb. That leads her to encounter a succession of interesting guests from around the world, who widen her horizons and make her yearn to see the world a little for herself now that her father seems to be becoming a bit more settled and self sufficient. She has no idea who the mystery benefactor might be who sends her a ticket to New York, but it’s an opportunity she really can’t turn down – but it’s the start of a globetrotting adventure she could never have imagined, and just the beginning of quite a major personal journey too.
There was so much I enjoyed about this book. I’ve mentioned the community already, and the characters were quite wonderfully developed – but something I particularly loved was Kara’s family relationships, her rather fragile father, but particularly lovely and wise grandfather Harry. At first, I’ll admit I found that whole storyline about the possibilities of her father being able to move on was perhaps what engaged me the most – although Kara is in her thirties she seemed rather younger, and I was less engaged by the twists and turns of her personal story and naturally gravitated towards the older characters and their lives. But my focus and interest did change as the book developed – Kara’s journey became centre stage, fully drew me in, and I was happy to follow it wherever it went.
On the romantic front, it’s clear that Billy – who works the ferry with Kara’s father – holds a torch for her, but she really can’t see it, and it’s bound to take some time after the damage done by Jago. Their relationship does start to develop quite nicely though, despite a series of misunderstandings and his tendency to flounce off at the least provocation.
And I haven’t mentioned the book’s humour – there are certainly plenty of smiles and laugh-out-loud moments (I particularly liked the interventions by James Bond, Kara’s characterful cat – and Sid certainly has his moments too), all really nicely woven into the story and very well judged. The emotional touch throughout is just right too – there’s a real warmth about the writing that I really enjoyed, particularly through the relationships with the friends and family who surround Kara with care and love, and I can fully understand why the author’s writing has won her so much praise.
Yes, I rather enjoyed this one. This is a lovely series in the making, and I’ll be more than happy to spend more time in Ferry Lane Market – I’ve made friends, and I do really like it there.
More praise for Nicola May!
‘This book will twang your funny bone & your heartstrings’ – Milly Johnson
‘A fun and flighty read’ – Sun
‘A funny and fast-paced romp – thoroughly enjoyable!’ WOMAN Magazine
‘One of those books that I can’t stop thinking about way after I’ve read it! – Kim The Bookworm
‘This book is so addictive that you will literally lose 3 hours of your life, and you won’t care!’ – Cara’s Book Boudoir
About the author
Nicola May writes ‘chick lit with a kick’ and is the internationally bestselling author of eleven romantic comedies. All have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK across all genres in January 2019 and March 2020 respectively. It was also the second best-selling eBook of 2019 in the UK. Nicola’s books have also been sold in many languages.