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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: 1,482,775 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


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

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:

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pauline on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Shades of Appley Green is not just about life in an English village, but also about the emotions, the conflicts and the changes that continue to take place. Steph is a wonderful character who despite her own issues and disapointments works hard at bringing the community together. Shades of Appley Green is a love story in many facets.
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Format: Paperback
Steph, single mother of two, leads a busy life. One of Appley Green’s residents sends her on a mission to ensure that the senior citizens get all the help and support they need. Is she able to fulfil all the requirements or will the hustle and bustle of the little village stand in her way?

I always feel slightly taken aback when a book introduces a lot of characters. Shades of Appley Green is one of these books in which pretty much the whole town makes an appearance. However, Miriam worked around this brilliantly! Not only is there a list in the beginning of the book that lists the characters and their relation to one another, but in addition she gives the reader enough “time” to get familiarised with the people of Appley Green.

I really enjoyed Steph’s character. Although challenged by obstacles and difficulties along the way, her strong personality constantly shines through.

Miriam creates a perfect atmosphere in this book and keeps an electric suspense throughout. I never expected such a strong cliffhanger in the end – I am definitely left wanting more!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter. Reading this book was like enjoying a hot chocolate in front of the fire on a cold snowy day; you enjoy the first sip and your enjoyment increases until the very last mouthful. It feels all warm and cozy from start to finish and is topped off with the sweet marshmallows, which are the interesting people you meet along the way.
I found the characters were well realised, full of all too human flaws and balanced with heartfelt kindness. With one notable exception every character in the book is someone you would want as a friend or neighbour, and having your back in a crisis. The story was smoothly crafted, pulling you in very, very gently and you suddenly found you were wanting to move to Appley Green, lock stock and barrel, to involve yourself in the book, as it became so real. I loved the slow burn of the main characters self realisation in sync with her revelation of the way she feels about other characters in the book. It is wonderfully done, drawing the reader in and making you want to encourage her on with tissues and tea to help her through everything.
If I had a criticism its only a very small one and that is the one character (the notable exception mentioned above) who is very dull and flat in comparison to others. This seems at odds with Ms Wakerly’s other characters, as even those with far less page time and less pleasant personas are all so full of character. All in all, I just adored this book. It took a little while to get into, but then I realised I wanted to read it all the time. It’s a great read to fill you with hope. It made me laugh out loud, feel full of warm fuzzies and is a great read that I highly recommend.

Review by Noemie T Verlan on behalf of
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