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Writer from Bottesford, near Grantham, publishes first book

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A local writer has published a new book that is sure to get people thinking.

“Dad in a Box”, by Mark Spruce, is an engaging, uplifting and redemptive first novel that considers how our personalities are moulded by our parents, and what parts of our personalities our children might inherit after we have gone.

Father-of-two Mark, who lives in Bottesford, said: “Talking to male friends in their fifties and sixties I realised we all enjoyed relating stories from our youth.

Mark Spruce, with his book "Dad in a box" (42839771)
Mark Spruce, with his book "Dad in a box" (42839771)

"Some are funny, some are tragic but they have stayed with us all our lives. The common regret is many of us don’t think to find out about our parents’ stories until after they have passed away.

"What if we could have the opportunity to discover these stories after they had gone? This was the starting point for my novel.”

Partly estranged since their parents’ divorce many years before, brothers Alex and Phil are given a second chance to learn about their late father when a box is delivered to their flat.

The box contains stories and objects from their father’s life. Reading the stories leads them on a journey of discovery and a road trip that takes them from the East Midlands to Wiltshire and Devon.

Gradually they come to better understand the man he was. This in turn helps them to heal and reconcile their own feelings towards him and reflect on the legacy they have inherited.

Mark, aged 59, took semi-retirement as the opportunity to write his first novel. For many years he worked as a fundraising manager for the RNLI and would regularly hear both amusing and heroic stories from lifeboat crews.

Mark said: “I came to reflect how these stories would become their children’s legacy as so many of them were properly recorded. I would hear friends tell me how they regretted not paying more attention to their own parents’ stories when they were younger and that now it was too late. I certainly knew this to be the case with my own father. As a common theme it is what prompted me to write my book.”

A musician as well as a writer, prior to coronavirus he regularly played at open mic nights in Newark and Bingham.

“Dad in a Box” is available to buy via Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition and has received very positive five-star reviews from readers.

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