It’s a real pleasure today to be helping launch the blog tour for The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klée: already available in paperback, the e-book is published today (1st August), available for kindle (and in paperback) via Amazon in the UK and US, and on all other major e-book platforms. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support.
I really wanted to read and review this book, and I’m rather sad I just couldn’t manage to make space for it on my reading list. It’s been so lovely to “meet” Deborah on social media, and I do rather suspect that I might have been responsible for adding a few books to her own reading list – we certainly seem to have very similar tastes. Ah well – she tells me that her next book, Just Bea, will be published on 1st February 2021, so I’ve already earmarked some reading space for that one!
Let’s take a closer look…
A borrowed boy, a borrowed name and living on borrowed time.
What do you put on a bucket list when you haven’t done anything with your life? No interesting job, no lovers, no family, no friends. Believing she has only weeks left to live, Angie Winkle vows to make the most of every minute.
Going back to Jaywick Sands, is top of her bucket list. Experiencing life as a grandmother is not, but the universe has other plans and when four-year-old Danny is separated from his mum on the tube, Angie goes to his rescue. She tries to return him to his mum but things do not go exactly as planned and the two of them embark on a life-changing journey.
Set in Jaywick Sands, once an idyllic Essex holiday village in the 70s, but now a shantytown of displaced Londoners, this is a story about hidden communities and our need to belong.
Looks good, eh? So, no review this time, but I’m delighted to welcome Deborah as my guest, with a rather lovely post about holidays…
In The Borrowed Boy, returning to Jaywick Sands is top of Angie Winkle’s bucket list. She remembers the holiday village in its heyday with the four-wheeled cycles that had bench seats and canopies and the relaxed holiday atmosphere. There was also a Butlins holiday camp along the coast in Clacton, which she visited with her childhood friend. That was in the early 1970s. When Angie returns forty years later everything has changed.
The travel industry, and with it our expectations of a holiday experience has transformed dramatically over the past fifty years, and as the tourist industry starts to adapt following Corona Virus, there will be more transformation.
The Jaywick Sands that Angie remembers from her youth was developed in the 1920s as part of the Plotlands development craze. A scheme that sold unused land to city dwellers so that they could build a holiday home at a low cost. There were no building regulations and so some imaginative homes were created, recycling materials such as packing cases.
Growing up, as one of four children we never went abroad as a family, instead, we had holidays at Pontins camps. I remember the Camber Sands holiday camp well. The freedom of being able to do just as we liked all day with no parent supervision was heady stuff. My dad handed out our daily pocket money as soon as we had eaten breakfast together in the holiday camp’s dining room – there was only one. So long as we returned at the specified time for lunch we were free. The penny arcade, where my big brother rocked the waterfall machine so that the pennies tumbled out, the paddle boats on the little lake, my first ever milkshake, sitting on a high bar stool, and winning the Miss Pontin competition are treasured memories.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that Brits started to travel abroad for their holidays. At the end of the 1970s, it was the first time in history that Brits spent more on holidays abroad than at home. The most popular destination was Spain. When it was discovered that fear of foreign food was discouraging would-be holidaymakers, Spanish restaurants started catering for the English, serving chips with everything and sales soared.
The first time I travelled abroad was in 1979 with my friend Catherine, when we boarded a Freddie Laker Sky Train to LA. Freddie Laker cut the price of air travel with his first Sky Train in 1977 but went out of business by 1982. However, air travel became much more affordable as a result.
I enjoyed reminiscing about the 1970s, when writing The Borrowed Boy, as I too was a teenager during that decade. The two-tone tonic jackets, broderie Anglais dresses and blouses, Jackie magazine and Disco 45 which printed the words to chart-topping singles, and heartthrobs David Cassidy, and David Essex.
Although I didn’t travel much growing up, that first adventure to LA led to a love of travel and I have now visited every continent.
I wonder how the travel industry will change as a result of the pandemic. Will seaside resorts in the UK become popular again? What will happen to the cruise industry? I for one cannot wait to start travelling again.
Thank you Deborah – and I must say I’m rather looking forward to travelling again too, as soon as it feels safe to do so. See you again in February…
About the author
Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.
Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.
The Borrowed Boy, her debut, was shortlisted for the Deviant Minds Award 2019. Just Bea, her second novel will be published in 2021.
Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.