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Shades of Appley Green: A Modern Village Novel Paperback – 1 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Strongman Publishing; first edition (1 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955843227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955843228
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,541,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Miriam Wakerly was born and brought up in Tetbury, Gloucestershire (of Highgrove fame) but has lived in Surrey for the past 34 years. With a degree in English, French, Sociology and Politics from Leicester University; a mixed working life that usually involved writing one way or another; and three adult children now flown the nest, she finally settled down to writing novels a couple of years before retirement.
Her most recent novel, Shades of Appley Green, is set in the same fictional Surrey-Hampshire village as her first two novels, Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served. It is a 'modern village novel' and the first of a new series.
Gypsies Stop tHere was launched the day after she stopped working. The Gypsy idea was seeded when working in the community supporting single teenage mothers when she thought the services being offered - support and information -should be extended to the Travelling community. Then excited and fascinated by the information she uncovered through reading; talking to Gypsies and Travellers; visiting sites; attending events; exploring websites of related organisations, she knew she had found her theme for a modern novel - perhaps many novels. More detail on this process can be found in her blog, Miriam's Ramblings. Many questions arose in her mind that her novels try to answer. She felt a need to reach out to people to help foster a better understanding of their current problems and erosion of their culture, but through a page-turner!
In March 2010 No Gypsies Served was published, taking aspects of her theme further - looking at events of recent history to help explain current attitudes, for example. It looks back as well as moving forward.
Enjoyed by mainstream readers, her first two are also included on the recommended reading list for diversity police training; and some branches of the Traveller Education Service use them in their adult literacy classes.
She spoke on BBC Oxford about her publishing venture in November 2009; and has been a radio guest on BBC Surrey several times, and more recently on BBC Glos. She is a member of the Society of Authors and continues to enjoy writing and talking to people about her books.

Product Description

Review

Written by a former Parkinson's UK Information and Support Worker, this is a delightful story with an unexpected ending. It truly captures village life, while in no way distracting you from the main theme of one person's quest for happiness. Through her work with a local charity, the main character Steph is helping a former architect with Parkinson's to regain his social life. The references made to the condition are very accurate: careful research must have been done. While reading, I found myself making a mental note of the priorities involved in caring for someone with Parkinson's. The story gently reminds you that Parkinson's doesn't just go away and, as time passes, decisions and changes have to be made. Reviewer: Alicia, whose husband has Parkinson's --The Parkinson, 2012, magazine of Parkinson's UK

Once again, the book delivers her traditional subtle but hard-hitting punch through a readable and solidly structured narrative that deftly explores the theme of love, bereavement and community .... Wakerly doesn't rely on polemics to drive home a point. She is observational, quietly humorous and occasionally but deliciously cutting, although she shatters the comfort zone by springing the mother of all surprises.' Juliette Foster --Full page review, Book Corner, Surrey Life Magazine Nov 2014

About the Author

Miriam Wakerly has had short stories and articles published in magazines. Her first novel, Gypsies Stop tHere was launched the day after she retired in 2008; No Gypsies Served followed two years later. These two books are also set in Appley Green. Her career history includes teaching, public relations and marketing in the IT industry; and community work. Now retired from work other than writing, she lives in Surrey with her husband. Their three adult children live and work in London. Before retiring she worked for two years with the Parkinson s Society, visiting people in their homes to offer information and support. Miriam Wakerly has a BA Degree in Combined Studies (English, French, Sociology, Politics) from Leicester University. She is a member of the Society of Authors. Find her on Twitter and her blog, Miriam s Ramblings: www.miriamwakerly.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scarlett de Courcier on 27 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
I reviewed two of Miriam Wakerly's books a while ago: Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served. They were excellent, so when she said she'd written another one and asked if I wanted to review it, my response was a resounding "yes!"

Needless to say, I was a little nervous. I'd loved the previous books because of the writing style, sure, but they'd been sent to me mainly because of my link to Gypsy culture, and I wasn't sure whether I'd like the new one, which has no Romany ties.

Well, I shouldn't have been worried. Predictably, it was excellent.

The book follows the story of Steph, a single mother of two, who is carrying out the dying wish of one of Appley Green's most well-loved residents: to ensure the senior citizens in the village have the help and friendship they both need and deserve. Whilst fulfilling her mission, she befriends one of her clients: Jackson, a famous architect, who quickly takes a prominent position in her life.

As is the way with close-knit country communities, Appley Green has its own trials and triumphs, all of which Steph gets caught up in, to the frustration of Greg, her boss. But when it comes down to it, does Steph have the strength of character to deal with everything life is throwing at her, help all the people she wants to help and still manage to keep her job and family secure?

Wakerly's writing style is, as always, tantalising: the kind of gripping you only normally experience with crime novels. I started reading it on the train home, carried on with a cup of tea on my sofa, ran a bath and finished it by candlelight, with my legs hanging over the edge of the tub. I just couldn't put it down. I think, short of a national emergency, I wouldn't have moved from the bath for anything.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book reviews on 20 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shades of Appley Green is lovely heart-warming story, one which I very much enjoyed.

I became very fond of Steph as the story developed and felt a great empathy for her not only for the difficulties she faced today but for the problems she had had to deal with in the past.

I thought the way Miriam revealed Steph's back story was done brilliantly through diary entries and, without interrupting the flow of the story, expertly showed how these events impacted on Steph's life today.

The twist at the end, I didn't see coming at all and it really made me sit up and think but again, the way this was woven into the story it didn't seem out of place and sat comfortably within the novel.

Miriam Wakerly has a lovely, easy style of writing that draws you into the story and keeps you there at a nice pace. The story touches on difficult issues in a sensitive manner and in a style that is not uncomfortable for the reader. The end, for me, was very emotional and did, in fact, bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. A lovely story of one woman's journey to understanding and accepting her past and ultimately finding an inner-peace and happiness.
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Format: Paperback
Steph is a kind, warm hearted, caring young woman. Ted Devonish had seen this and knew she would be the perfect person for his new mission. A charity called SSS Special Support for Seniors. Set up to help lonely, isolated and housebound elderly people. Steph was happy to work for the charity; the job was paid work, which as a single parent with two children to support was ideal for Steph. Steph would go out and do home visits in the local community and surrounding areas, offering help and support and she had just come up with a brilliant idea of setting up a computer class at the local community hall for her clients.

Greg was her boss, the manager of SSS. Although at the moment there are only Greg and Steph working for the charity. Greg likes things done according to rules and regulations, much to Steph's annoyance. Steph does not seem to trust men and when Greg starts to hang around looking in to the work Steph is doing, Steph is not happy. Steph knows that she has not been able to keep to all the guide lines Greg as set out for her. Greg also as concerns about Steph and particularly about how much time and dedication Steph seems to be giving to an elderly gentleman called Jackson who is suffering from Parkinson disease.

By watching and chatting to Steph about her work will Greg learn more about Steph and why she seems to be obsessed with caring for Jackson?

Shades of Appley Green is a wonderful, moving and emotional, touching story about a young woman who as to come to terms with her past, before she can move on into the future. Set in the fictional village of Appley Green, Steph's story slowly unravels throughout the story, keeping the reader intrigued and unable to put the book down. Miriam Wakerly as a beautiful way of writing that makes the reader care and feel involved. I very much look forward to reading more books by Miriam Wakerly.
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Format: Paperback
I have to say that this book is not my usual genre but I was keen to read it as I had read so many good reviews about it. I was not disappointed. Whilst the book tells the story of the main character Steph at quite a slow and measured pace this is a perfect style as for me it reflected the unhurried and relaxed pace of the village of Appley Green. If I was ever to go and live anywhere, it would be this village. I could imagine being there! The descriptions of the village that Miriam Wakerly gives throughout the book perfectly sets the scene of a place unaffected by the hamster wheel of modern life that grinds you down.
The main character of the book is Steph a kind and loving young woman who is perfectly suited to her job. She is part of a charity involved with the elderly of Appley Green. One of her `clients' Jackson holds a special place in Steph's heart and throughout the book we discover the reason why. But this is more than a job for Steph. It is a promise she made to one of the few men Steph has ever respected and trusted.
Steph juggles a very busy career with the very serious job of being a single mum to Faith and Barnaby. Her job is not made easy by the man who must oversee her work, Greg. Steph feels he is there at every turn, waiting for her to slip up and putting extra pressure on her.
Steph explores her past through a series of diary entries. A past that is filled with happiness and heartache. A past she must face before she can look to the future. Her mistrust of men threatens to lead her to a lonely life where she feels unloved. But, her life begins to take many unexpected and at times difficult paths that Steph must deal with. Can she do this alone or will help come from a very unlikely source?
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