Mr Luctons Freedom By Francis Brett Young


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Owen Lucton is the senior partner of a respected firm of North Bromwich (Birmingham) accountants. He enjoys considerable wealth and a privileged position. Now of mature years he finds the demands of his life irksome. When he crashes his luxury car into the River Avon he realises that he can disappear, as it will be assumed he drowned. He adopts a new identity, yet his new freedom is precarious. He makes his way across the Malvern Hills to the quiet country of the Welsh border. His encounters with farmers, walkers, fishermen, and a cricket-loving vicar, all end with him taking flight to avoid his identity being revealed. Finally he finds contentment with two spinster sisters in the village of Chapel Lawn. But his idyll comes to an untimely end as he accidentally unseats a passing lady cyclist. Mr Luctons Freedom

Owen Lucton has it all. A career, money, respect, and a family some would be proud of, but he's not happy. Owen feels that his only reason for existing is to fund the lavish lifestyle of his wife and that if he wasn't around, even his job would go on quite nicely in the capable hands of his son.

So when he goes for an afternoon ride in his sporty new Pearce Tregaron and ends up wrecking it in the river he sees his chance for escape. No one need know where he's disappeared to. He can start over.

But it's not so easy to start over with the clothes on your back and no history you'll admit to. Especially when news of his disappearance becomes known.

Thus explains Mr Lucton's walking holiday through Wales, never stopping in one place for long before having to escape yet again.

Eventually, he stumbles upon his Utopia, a village and friends that he can connect with on every human level but it's at this crucial point that he has to make the hardest decision of his life: stay and let his friends experience financial ruin, or return to his old life but save his friends.

This is a pleasant but not overly exciting book. Enjoyable but not one I would reread too soon.

CONTENT: nothing objectionable. Suitable for all reading audiences. Francis Brett Young This is the first book by Francis Brett Young I've read and I enjoyed it very much. At one point I thought perhaps it was one of those tales where you find out it was all a dream or a coma-induced hallucination. I hate that. But don't worry, it isn't. One thing I found very interesting was that although Lucton is a rich businessman he is allowed to be a very likeable character - you are with him all the way. That could only happen in a book written in the first half of the twentieth century and I found it very refreshing. If you like nice, old-fashioned books with a good story, as I do, then you will like this. The style reminded me a little of J.B. Priestley's The Good Companions. I will certainly be reading more Francis Brett Young.

The book is set just before the 2nd World War - it was published in 1939 but makes oblique references to Chamberlain's piece of paper so it must have been written in 1938. Which makes Owen Lucton's journey of freedom through the countryside of Shropshire, Wales and the Borders all the more poignant. Lucton has escaped, almost accidentally, from his dull, trapped life in Birmingham (called North Bromwich in the book) and is attempting to travel incognito but every time he thinks he is safe from discovery, his cover is blown and he has to make another bid for freedom. The characters he meets, the landscape, the situations he gets into are all very vivid and there is the constant tension of potential discovery. Will he be found out? Will he have to go back to his restricted former life? Read it and find out! Francis Brett Young It's not often that I get to meet a fellow chartered accountant in a book and so when I spotted one, as I cross checked the list of works provided by the Francis Brett Young Society with my library's catalogue, I had to invite him home.

His name was Owen Lucton and when we met, towards the end of the 1930s, he had risen from humble beginnings to become the senior partner of a successful accountancy practice in North Bromwich.

He enjoyed the luxuries and the privileges that his success had brought him, but he loved the simpler things in life , and he was very proud of where he had come from.

But Mr Lucton was troubled, as his son wanted to modernise his business and his wife wanted to move to a new modern home and leave everything from the past behind.

Maybe that was why, when he crashed his new car into the River Avon, when he saw it sink into the mud, he saw a wonderful opportunity. He could escape!

He walked over the Malvern Hills and into the Welsh countryside. And he had some wonderful experiences along the way.

He enjoyed the community spirit in a village pub. He lent a hand on a farm, helping to bring in the harvest. He picked up tips from a dedicated rambler. He was recruited for a village cricket team. He learned how to fish for salmon. He even learned a little about modern poetry.

Yes, Mr Lucton happily turned his hand to many new things. His lack experience and expertise sometimes got him into trouble, but his genuine interest and enthusiasm, and his good manners and gentlemanliness generally saved the day.

But he could never settle, because he knew that sooner or later somebody would realise that he was the missing accountant. He had to keep moving.

Francis Brett Young pulled all of his adventures together into a lovely story. Sometimes it was a little slow, a little uneventful, but there was always something to hold the interest. Beautifully drawn characters. Lovely descriptive passages. Comical and dramatic incidents.

I had no doubt that the author had taken his hero into a world that he knew and loved.

He is a rather old-fashioned hero, and some of his attitudes may raise an eyebrow, but he was a man of his times and his character always rang true.

The day did come when he found a place where he could stay and a community he could join. And that's just what he did

But it wasn't the end. One day Mr Lucton found himself faced with a difficult choice. He could help two dear friends in dire straits, but to do so he would have to reveal his true identity and return to his old life.

My heart was in my mouth as I watched him make his decision and take action. And then we parted company.

I saw the decision, but I was left to wonder what all of the consequences might be. And that was exactly right.

Though I was sorry to leave an entertaining piece of escapism, with serious underpinnings.

And I'm sorry that Francis Brett Young's books seem to be out of print, because they read beautifully and I'm starting to think that they might make wonderful Sunday night television.

Thank goodness the Cornish Library Service saw fit to add a good number to reserve stock! Francis Brett Young I started reading Mr. Lucton's Freedom after seeing it repeatedly mentioned in Narrowboat Summer. I felt I could bring something new to our book club discussions by reading it as well as Narrowboat. It may start a tad slow, but once Mr. Lucton is on his way, well clear of Bromwich and his business and family, it turns in to a grand adventure. The language and storytelling is positively lavish compared to contemporary reading. Mr. Lucton is at turns old-fashioned, humorous, romantic and redemptive. A wonderful turn off the main road. Francis Brett Young