Updated: Sep 26
Title: Second Star to the Left
Author: Megan Van Dyke
Published: 15th February 2022
Genre: Romance, Fairytale, Fantasy, Fiction, Adventure, Humour
Start Date: 29th July 2022
Finish Date: 4th August 2022
Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland; pixie dust; wants absolution.
Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his hook.
Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is until he recovers from her pixie dust-laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.
However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.
As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realisation that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find, each other.
This is the first fairytale retelling I have read of Peter Pan, when I first realised what it was about I was unsure about whether I would like it. And I was right I don't like it, I love it! The romance was fire red hot.
Let's talk about Tink, she has always been portrayed as a bratty, spoilt and nauseating character who throws fits or is very self-absorbed. Whereas Megan Van Dyke instantly changes her, instead we find a complex woman selling her fairy dust off to save her cousin, in a way she is selling her soul too. Tink puts her life on the line, she gets banished from her homeland and she continues to put herself at risk to protect the family she loves. Right away Megan Van Dyke creates a spell of Empathy around Tink, who is about to make the best and worst mistake of her life.
Enter Captain James Hook, a swaggering stud of a pirate with his mischievous smile for every smile that catches his eye. His first meeting with Tink has all the makings of a fiery one-night stand, but a bit of pixie dust puts Captain Hook flat on his back and his prized possession out of his reach. What I adore about Hook's character is he is like an onion, as we peel back the layers of mischievous James Hook we find a man with a tragic past, deep-seated trauma and love of family that transcend bloodlines.
Smee is another character that in Peter Pan is portrayed as a real weasel but in Megan Van Dyke's tale Smee is the tall, handsome, loyal first mate who has a girl in every port. A strong love for family and absolutely no boundaries when it comes to sex in a bar. Smee has such a fun personality, he is a gentle spirit, yet he is the first one the dive into the ocean if someone gets knocked overboard.
The world-building in this story is amazing. The road from Tortuga to Neverland feels so natural and organic, that you could almost look at a starry sky and sense Hook's homeland within reach. With subtle grace, she pulls focus to the sparks of new love but quietly drops in building blocks of primal beauty and weaves an immersive, emotional experience for the readers to enjoy.
The chemistry and tension between Tink and Hook make for swoon-worthy enemies to lovers romance filled to the brim with spice and conflict, as well as tender and heartfelt moments to deepen the story. The love scenes in Second Star to the Left are among one the
best I have ever read, they are emotional and passionate with plenty of interiority as well as heat. Alongside the romance, there is a healthy dose of adventure, humour and suspense as Hook and Tink are forced to work with each other to right some of the wrongs they have done in the past. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, it draws you in completely.
I had the honour of getting this book in the Butterfly Book Club book subscription, I read it with some amazing people and I truly can't wait to read more of Megan Van Dyke's work.