by Lynn Michell & Stefan Gregory
What a fabulous title, was my initial reaction to receiving Shooting Stars are the Flying Fish of the Night from Linen Press.
I grew up on the North Wales coast and spent large chunks of my childhood in and on the sea, so I was immediately drawn to this true tale of mother, father and son setting out together on a maritime adventure of a lifetime. The father, Stefan Gregory, an enthusiastic boatman, and the mother, Lynn Michell, the Director of Linen Press– seasoned sailing partners of some thirty years.
The narrative begins in 2003 and continues throughout with male and female monologues, allowing the reader to follow the thoughts, fears, highs and and lows (what the intrepid couple call “internal voyages”) of the Skipper and his First Mate as they cross the vast expanse of ocean. A kind of nautical he-says/she-says, if you like.
I have to confess that I zoned out slightly when reading about the vital statistics of various sailing vessels, but to be fair, that had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the writing and everything to do with my lack of interest in the practicalities of finding, purchasing and equipping a boat. However, the excitement picked up considerably once Stefan and Lynn found Scarlet, their perfect craft, and set sail for Europe from the north east coast of America.
I do not want to include any spoilers in this review, so suffice it to say, fatigue, fog, sea sickness, food shortages, mountainous waves, sensational sunsets, dolphins and yes, shooting stars and flying fish, all have their part to play the story. The family kept their heads and their humour throughout this incredible journey and I felt as if I were on board that boat with them for every nautical mile.
A highly enjoyable read.