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Shades of Appley Green: A Modern Village Novel [Paperback]

Miriam Wakerly
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Feb 2012 Appley Green
Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men! In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinsons regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves. 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.

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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: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,411,411 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

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
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and heart warming 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Story, Beautifully Told 27 Aug 2012
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delighful Book 13 Feb 2012
By Pauline
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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4.0 out of 5 stars cliffhanger leaves me wanting more 20 May 2014
By Heidi
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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4.0 out of 5 stars a great read to fill you with hope 17 Feb 2014
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars an easy read.
good to read a novel about social care and the older generation with a happy ending and all set in an idyllic English village, if only life was like this.
Published 16 months ago by Mrs Susam M Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Appley Green
I was intrigued by the setting of this novel, which is why I chose it when browsing in Camberley Library. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jean B
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done
Mirian Wakely has somewayto go sometimes in terms of style, but her story is fun and ends on a positive note. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mari Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!
I loved this book for all the reasons written about in the other reviews. I work in the field of Parkinson's and it captures the esscence of living with Parkinson's whilst... Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by C. Bartlett
5.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Appley Green by Miriam Wakerly
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. Read more
Published on 29 July 2012 by Nikki Bywater
4.0 out of 5 stars I want to live here!
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. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2012 by JB Johnston
4.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Appley Green gives you faith in human kindness!
This is third book of Miriam's that I have read. Whilst this is written in the fictional (but beautifully sounding) village of Appley Green just like the previous two books and has... Read more
Published on 11 April 2012 by Lougrahamii
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful and entertaining
In a word I loved it! But that wouldn't be much of a review. Hopefully, I won't let any spoilers out. Read more
Published on 4 April 2012 by Melanie King
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