Enthusiasm, passion and sheer drive

19 August, 2014 in News

Mr Westcott has made Bath the backdrop to a cracking story of one man’s attempt to drag himself up the ladder from humble beginnings. Born in the wreckage of one of the few German bombs to have landed on the city, Yann
Morris starts life disadvantaged when his father fails to return from active service. His mother Ruth is lucky enough to make acquaintance with Isaac and Naomi Abrahams, he being the doctor involved in the rescue and birth. Fortune smiles on Yann and he wins a scholarship to the UK’s premier Jewish public school, although this means he has to leave his mother at the tender age of five.

Meantime, the great and the good of Bath plan for the post-war redevelopment of Bath. This bit of skulduggery – the flattening of much of Bath’s (lesser) Georgian heritage for redevelopment- falters as the privileged classes lose their grip on British society. Peacetime brings a new climate and Clement Atlee’s government is driving through the National Health Service and other nationalisations. As Yann reaches maturity he becomes a player in the intrigue although remaining untainted by any whiff of wrongdoing.

Events move apace and the four hundred plus pages fl y by. The style is engaging and words aren’t wasted. Those you might consider key characters are rapidly dispatched when their purpose has been served; Yann’s sexual initiations are similarly speedy and varied. In an interview at the end of the book, the author reveals that much of the story is autobiographical and that 40 real people have ‘walk-on parts’. I smiled when reading that Mr B’s Reading Emporium and Toppings – two of Bath’s independent bookshops – get a mention decades before they were established. Smart move by an author who is obviously a keen self-promoter having sold many thousands of copies locally.

Douglas Westcott set out to write a pageturner and I for one believe he succeeded.

Guy Pringle
Personal read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ★★★★
Group read . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ★★★★

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“Much enjoyed the evolving lives of the characters and can relate to the untold history of Bath amidst settings so familiar.”

Philip Jennings

‘An absorbing read with a mix of history, emotion, ambition, suspense and soul searching’

Michael Bywaters

‘Yet again Douglas Westcott provides the reader with a masterful insight into the City of Bath.’

Peter Groves

‘Another enthralling chapter in this tale of Bath, during a period of dramatic change and development.’

Roger Palmer

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