James, an ardent Anglophile, has been gathering information in support of this novel for decades via frequent visits to Britain and, in particular, B&B overnights in the lovely small villages that dot the countryside in the south and west of England. Of particular influence have been the stories and rumors overheard in village pubs. The most prevalent of these is the legend of a clandestine community – one not appearing on any map and hostile to outsiders – which retains the look, feel and customs of an idyllic pre-war English village.
In light of the massive, ongoing and not necessarily positive changes to the English countryside and its villages, one might attribute this legend to nostalgia – induced by both real and embellished memories of bygone days. Then again, could there actually be an English village that clings to the past, resists change, and remains free of hypermarkets, pay-and-display parking lots, souvenir stores, fake Tudor fronts, and crowds of pushy tourists? Ignizio would like to think so, and The Last English Village is his attempt to bring that fantasy closer to reality.
In this novel you’ll be introduced to two men on two very different quests – but both traveling in the same automobile, a vintage 1949 Morris Minor. Vince Collesano, ill, depressed, and alone, journeyed to England to satisfy his wife’s final request. Seconds before her death she had pointed to a painting of an English churchyard and asked to have her ashes buried there – in the country where she had been born and raised.
Unfortunately, Vince has no idea as to just where in England that particular churchyard is located. The promise cannot be kept without the help of his late wife’s cousin, Albert “Bertie” Ambrose, a sad little man who hasn’t ventured outside of London for more than thirty years. Bertie, in turn, is consumed by the legend of a secluded village populated – according to pub rumors – by the former crew of an American B-17, the famous Flying Fortress of World War II.
Despite Vince’s intense dislike of Bertie, and all things English, the pair team up for what Vince believes to be a search for his wife’s final resting place. The success or failure of that quest will depend on the events of more than a half-century ago and the still unexplained fate of the Susan Rae, an American B-17 bomber.
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