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4.3 out of 5 stars
Miss Appleby's Academy
Format: Kindle EditionChange
Price:£4.49
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Emma Appleby, a woman born in England but brought up in America, is forced out of her family home upon the death of her father, and flees to England with George, her adopted son, to start a new life in the village where she was born. There, she meets Mick, the owner of several public houses (and apparently limitless means), and he helps her set up her eponymous academy. So far so good.

But...for a start, I thought the novel was badly in need of editing. In places I had to re-read passages to make sense of them, and some sentences meandered on far longer than made for ease of reading. The plot I found thin, and Emma herself was just too good to be true. As well as teaching, she baked, she sorted out furnishings, she helped out neighbours (even bringing a couple in under her roof), and she put up with the insults of those who refused to make her welcome; and all willingly and without a thought for herself. A saint, in fact.

There is love in this novel, it is true, but for me the book lacked passion of any kind. It was an anodyne tale; quite pleasant, but no more. As for the ending (which I felt should have come sooner) it was entirely predictable. Altogether, a disappointing read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2013
Enjoyed this book a lot it's full of life would recommend it to any one who enjoys novels with a family theme
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2013
I read this book with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. The author is similar to Josephine Cox. The story was a bit slow to start but as i got into it i didnt want to put it down. It has introduced me to a fantastic author and i have downloaded all of her books so with winter coming i am looking forward to reading each one, its a must read enjoy !!!!!!!!!!
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on 13 July 2014
For an author of so many years I found the book disappointing, was this a collection of note preparation for a book sent to the publisher by mistake?
A basis for a good story that never made it. A key character that turned out to be wonder women, what she achieved in a short time was beyond belief, her admirer Mike with an unlimited flow of cash, & the rest of the subjects seemed to appear for only a short period then disappear without trace. Paragraphs & sentences had me re reading previous lines to check I had not missed out on something, As for the finale it was so abrupt I then spent time looking for the pages that I thought were missing! Ask me why I continued to read the story - simple, I am unable to put away an unfinished book regardless of it's content. What a waste of time. My 10 year Granddaughter old writes with more depth and imagination. Thank goodness I only paid a few pence for the 'Privilege' The one star is for the speed of down load to Kindle.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2013
I read a lot. I read a wide variety of books and I love a good story. This is one of the worse books I have read in along time. I kept waiting for it to grip me, unfortunately it didn't! I found it very hard to sympathise with the characters and if I'm really honest found it very boring. I am very surprised it has so many good reviews, so felt compelled to write one myself hoping to spare some future readers from this predictable soppy rubbish!
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on 3 November 2013
This book reeks with the fear of a woman in earlier times, having no funds of her own and little prospect of independent survival.
It is a good portrait of a strong woman, driven outside her normal parameters by her slug of a brother and his vain, shallow wife, grasping her last chance to make something of her life and that of her adopted son.
Mick has problems at home, and (whether to protect his wife and daughter, or because of the common fear of gossip) is almost entirely inarticulate when speaking to this new neighbour. However, somehow they get through all the ups and downs to a happy ending. These are interesting characters, in a historical setting with different problems to today - and yet often the same things crop up, too. As another reviewer indicated, Ms Gill applies some modern understanding of psychology to their lives and their interactions, which adds to the depth of the story. Definitely one to keep, highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2013
Having read the blurb about the book I thought it was going to be good and I was not disappointed. Although I found the character of Emma infuriating at times with her dithering and stubborness I could appreciate why she was like that. The writer has an easy style of writing making the book a pleasure to read.
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on 23 March 2014
I found Miss Appleby an intriguing character - strong and vulnerable in equal measure.

Misunderstandings by many of the characters, and the choices they made as a result, had sometimes devastating consequences. Elizabeth Gill's portrayal of the Durham area at the beginning of the twentieth century is striking, as is her portrayal of the people. Hard lives were lived by so many and they were often hard on themselves and each other. Did the bleakness of the landscape and challenging weather encourage such harshness?

Miss Appleby's Academy is a story which will stay with you for a while. I'm looking forward to reading more novels by Elizabeth Gill. The first one I read was Far from My Father's House, which I loved.

Jasmine Sparks
Author of Dolly
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on 2 October 2013
This novel is well written and I found, once I'd got into it, I couldn't put it down. I'll grant that I may be going soft in my old age but I really found the description of life for an unmarried spinster intriguing. It shows two differing countries (USA and England's North East) but with attitudes remarkably similar to women.

I'm not an ardent feminist but I'm glad I live in the 21st century; life really was tough in the 19th century.

I don't think this is really a "man's" book and found the storyline to be a bit predictable but don't let this put you off. It's fairly light reading but none the less enjoyable for it. If you are looking for a well researched, well told story I recommend you give this a go and "look inside" before purchasing.
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on 12 January 2014
Currently in process of reading this book and find it so interesting and a easy read I have found it hard to put down. Read 50% straight off. Beautifully written and able to identify with places memtioned within the story( Durham area) as this is close to my home and I am very aware of the mining community and how harsh was at the period with which the authour had based her characters and lives on, as well as having an added interest as during ancestry research identified lots of relatives whom lived in the areas where some of the story is based. Had relatives based very near to Tow Law itself. Would buy more books by same author as well as recommending to other people as a good/excellent product to read.
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