The Two-Pound Tram
By William Newton
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781582343747, 208pp.)
Publication Date: November 2003
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"Our dream, our obsession, was to own a tram. This all started with an advertisement which showed a picture of a London tram with the words: 'Trams surplus to the requirements of the London Omnibus and Tramcar company for sale at their depot at Acton, London for £2 each.' I doubt if there was a day afterwards when the tram did not enter our conversation..."
The year was 1937, and Hitler had just walked into Austria. It was also a marvelous year for clouded yellow butterflies.
Wilfred and Duncan live in a big old house in Sussex, England. They spend their days catching butterflies and dreaming of escape, and only ever see their parents on Wednesdays for lunch. When their mother elopes and their already distant father takes up with other ladies, they decide that enough is enough. And they have a plan: they will leave home, go to London, and buy a tram, decommissioned by the bus and tram company, that they have seen advertised in the paper for two pounds sterling. Soon the brothers find that their adventures have begun in earnest-as they become proprietors of an old-fashioned horse-drawn tram service, then local celebrities whose tram advertises for a seaside merchant, and finally such heroes of the war effort that they receive a visit from royalty.
Destined to become a new family classic, The Two-Pound Tram is a bittersweet testament to youth and its triumph over hardship.
William Newton is a retired doctor who lives in Oxfordshire, England, with his wife. The Two-Pound Tram is his first book.