Take a trip to Manchester on our #GreatBookishRoadTrip with bestselling author Samantha Tonge ✨ Read Samantha’s blog post on the influence of the city on her brand new novel Lost Luggage 📚
Like Under One Roof, my first novel with Boldwood Books, Lost luggage is set in Manchester. I’ve lived in South Manchester for almost thirty years, and like to think of myself as an honorary northerner. I’m incredibly fond of the city – its down-to-earth nature, its tolerance, the diversity, the humour. Its soundtrack is vibrant and eclectic.
Across the whole of Manchester, in December, you’ll find the Christmas markets, and this is where the story starts. Specifically the first chapter is set in the Northern Quarter, where Dolly visits a lost luggage auction. This area is characterised by quirky shops and independent coffee and brunch places. The street art there is amazing, and I used to visit the Buddhist centre for lunchtime meditation. It’s also home to Afflecks, an indoor market that houses indie commerce, with so many amazing stalls that sell crystals, jewellery, vintage clothing, old vinyls and there’s an LGBTQ bookshop that Dolly’s friend, Leroy, has no doubt visited.
Broad and bustling Market Street, with its buskers and street preachers, leads you to the more mainstream establishments and into the Arndale, with its food court and pop up cake shops and eyebrow bars. You can lose yourself there for an afternoon, visiting all the big brands and stopping at Costa, Starbucks or Subway for fuel to keep you going.
One chapter is set in the Trafford Centre, where Dolly completes a challenge. I remember it opening in 1998. The building is made up of three domes and full of authentic artefacts, paintings and sculptures, and a beautiful rococo and baroque interior, with marble throughout and real gold leaf decor. It’s so much more than just a shopping centre.
During the story Dolly has many memories of Manchester years ago, as she thinks back to her childhood and the first love she lost touch with, Fred. If you ever get a chance, spend some time here, and soak up the city’s architecture, including the cathedral and town hall. You’ll be welcomed by the open, friendly, Mancunian vibe, and perhaps you’d like to grab a drink the Gay Village, or visit the cinemas, theatres and so much more.