Year Five: A Coastguard's House on a Pebble Beach – In Year Five the Lipmans stayed in their most dodgy cottage so far, but they visited the seaside towns of Sandwich and Deal, saw Walmer Castle and took a trip back to Broadstairs.
Year Six: A Regency Cottage on a Bridal Path – In the final year, the Lipmans stay in the glorious Madrigal Cottage which was Denis’s favourite (and mine). They also visit the AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood which is pretty exciting even if there was nothing to see!
While reading this wonderful travelogue, I was overcome by a desire to spend a summer holiday in a cottage in the English countryside and this feeling hasn’t gone away. In fact, this is the kind of book that makes you want to follow in the Lipman’s footsteps and the see all the things they saw, no matter how quirky or frustrating they were at times.
And they were quirky and frustrating. A Yank Back to England details shockingly bad service, classic English mediocrity and unpredictable English weather. Poor American Frances was quite bemused at times while I’m sure Denis was thinking “I told you so”! The massive appeal of this book though is that it takes you away from all of the traditional sights and sounds in England to ancient towns, stately homes, magnificent castles and a country so breathtakingly gorgeous when the sun is shining. The sense of heritage is amazing as the Lipmans encounter attractions from many different eras including Viking, Roman and several millennia of English history.
The most touching aspect of this story though is the relationship that Denis shared with his parents Lew and Jessie and how he came to respect and understand them over time. At times hilarious and at times incredibly touching, this is an lovely book that will certainly appeal to anglophiles. As I chuckled to myself while traveling on the London Underground each day, I realized that this is a book that will appeal to just about everyone but certainly lovers of travelogues, memoirs and humor.