Well! It's been a year since publication of A Yank Back To England, and it has been quite exciting. I've done over thirty book readings and lectures, ranging from small book clubs in people's houses to bookshops, even a champagne brunch at Fort Meade and dinner at a baronial manor house brought brick by brick from England! Regardless of the venue, the response has been overwhelmingly favorable. Mind you, I have also been brought to earth a couple times, and quite dramatically! One event, for a group of seniors, sticks in my mind. I spoke after lunch and, despite my Dickensian efforts to read with bombast and, dare I say, a certain élan, my audience fell into the arms of Morpheus before I could say Ghrrrr! Most disconcerting. As you can imagine, I wrapped up the reading very quickly. At least, when everyone came to, a few books were sold! So that was all right.
Also, during the past twelve months, Frances and I have been really overwhelmed by the letters (well, emails) we have received and the comments readers have left on our website. Some say they've read the book more than once! We've been especially touched by those readers who fell in love with my funny old folks, along with my extended family and some of the oddballs we met along the way. It is so gratifying to discover the book has hit a familiar cadence with so many. Of course, not everyone has aging Cockney parents, but most everyone seems to have family experiences my story helped evoke.
Apart from the family story, our travels have also resonated with a good many readers. We have received quite a few notes from readers planning to take Yank on their next trip! Very gratifying to think that a lot more people will be discovering the wonderful literary landmarks and fascinating historical sites we found on our travels in Southern England (I encourage everyone to avoid Dagenham though, but few listen to my words of wisdom).
I hope you'll forgive the indulgence, we thought we'd post here a few of the comments and observations we've received (we won't mention names, but these are real quotes from real people). Many were accompanied by personal stories and memories evoked, which we enjoyed very much.
"The perfect blend of humor, poignancy, history, culture, and character. Well BLOODY done!!!!"
"I hated to come to the end, so I have read it over several times...thanks for sharing your family & your travels with us. I fell in love with them all!!"
"Wonderful book, but so painfully close to home as I struggle with my own aging parents and recall my own version of an English childhood. I connected with this on so many levels!! Couldn't put it down."
"I bought (Yank) simply because I like travel writing and it sounded interesting. But your book connected with me in ways I did not expect at all."
"I spent some time in school (in England) and get back every few years... so reading your descriptions of places, food and feelings brought back a lot of good memories--although I don't miss the Archers!"
"Wonderful book, I relished most every part of it."
"As a Brit who became a Yank and now takes his family back to the UK every year to visit family it really struck a chord."
And the very first personal note we received, which said, in part:
"I am almost at the end of A Yank Back to England and I will be sorry when it's over. I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and getting to know your family and your travels." (This lovely reader wrote again when she'd completed the book! Very nice indeed.)
Of course, the book was not everyone's cup of tea. But that's okay by me. After all, not everyone likes tea with milk! But regardless of how you take you tea, thank you all for taking the time and trouble to write to us.
For those of you who haven't heard, I'm also pleased to report the book has now been reprinted. And yes, I'm still doing events. Meanwhile, do continue to write and tell us if the book inspired you to take a trip to the Green and Pleasant. And don't forget to tell your friends! If they can't make the royal wedding, they can still catch up on a couple of royal events and discover the other Kate--the one in A Yank Back To England.
Happy New Year to all,
Van Helsing and Hugh Jackman
1 day ago