Part travelogue, part memoir, A Yank Back to England: The Prodigal Tourist Returns is a wonderful new book written by Denis Lipman. Former magician and playwright Denis grew up in Dagenham which is a little town in Essex, England, but he moved to the USA over twenty years ago to find his fortune. A Yank Back to England chronicles Denis’s annual visits back to England to see his aging, Cockney parents. While England is old news to him, his new wife Frances insists on seeing the countryside and convinces Denis to become a tourist in his old homeland.
The book is divided into six years but actually covers eight different visits. In all of the chapters, Denis and Frances hire out a cottage in the English countryside and are joined by Denis’s parents Lew and Jessie and often by Denis’s aunt and cousin too. Denis and Frances’s gorgeous little girl Kate makes her appearance in Year Two.
Year One: A Tiny Home on a Large Estate - Year One sees the Lipmans visiting the homes of Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill. They take a trip to Aldeburgh which is in Suffolk and visit the eastern most part of England.
Year Two: A Tudor Cottage in East Anglia – In Year Two, the family travel over to the lovely Elizabethan town of Rattlesden in Suffolk; they visit Melford Hall, the home of Beatrice Potter. and they travel through the university town of Cambridge on the way back to London.
Year Three: Hard by The Masters House – It is probably safe to say that the landlords of the cottage they stayed in this year were not their favorites, but Year Three was one of my favorites with trips to Winchestr (home of King Arthur’s Round Table), Chichester and Arundel Castle in West Sussex.
Year Four: A Carriage House on the Saxon Shore – While staying at the haunted Carriage House in Year Four, the Lipmans visited the wonderful Broadstairs for the first time, where Bleak House, the home of Charles Dickens, is located. Before departing back to the US, they also visited Blenheim Palace and Woodstock near Oxford.