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Miss Appleby's Academy by [Gill, Elizabeth]
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Miss Appleby's Academy Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 581 customer reviews

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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description


An enthralling and satisfying novel that will leave you wanting more (Catherine King)

Elizabeth Gill writes with a masterful grasp of conflicts and passions hidden among men and women of the wild North Country (Leah Fleming)

Original and evocative - a born storyteller (Trisha Ashley)

Drama and intrigue worthy of Call the Midwife (Big Issue)

Book Description

The bestselling emotional saga set in County Durham. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Maggie Hope and Nadine Dorries.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1227 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (31 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009P1WEL8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 581 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,773 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Emma Appleby arrives in a small village in County Durham, having made her way across from America. She brings with the a small boy who is not her son and she seems to be looking for something from the past.

The locals are suspicious, they have long memories and feel that they cannot be associated with her. Only one person seems to connect with Emma and that is Mick Castle. But Mick Castle has problems of his own, not only is he trying to run many pubs in the area, where trouble and fighting is commonplace on most nights, he has a wife who never leaves their house and a daughter running wild.

Emma suddenly seems to be the answer to some of his problems. She tackles the domesticity which is missing from one his pubs, The Black Diamond, and wants to help the likes of Connie and channel the energy she has into something else. The opportunity presents itself when a visit with George to the local school, Emma sees how the teaching method leaves a lot to be desired. If she could teach them in her own way in her own academy then maybe she will find her place in life. What she is searching for seems to have alluded her so far, and perhaps the small village so far from America is the perfect place to start.

The characters that Elizabeth Gill has created are intriguing and rather infuriating. Emma's brother Laurence back in America, was instantly dislikeable and the way he deals with his sister as a commodity is shocking perhaps today, but not in 1906. Mick Castle's wife Isabel, has a problem and whilst it is not perhaps apparent, as the book goes on, the author deals with a rather modern issue in a historic setting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It all starts badly for Anglo-American spinster Emma Appleby when her supposedly perfect father dies and leaves everything to her smug, obnoxious brother. When Emma receives an offer of marriage from an older and totally unsuitable man, she realises it's time to make a stand.

She takes her adopted son George (as Emma is a single woman with a child at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, there are plenty of opportunities for gossip and scandal there), and returns to the North East of England, where businessman Mick Castle is also having a bad time with his alcoholic wife and wayward daughter Connie, who looks nothing like Mick - so we wonder why.

The North East wasn't a prosperous or particularly inviting place at that time. As the local whore tells Emma, there's no living for the likes of us (single/widowed women) except up against a wall. But Emma's not about to start selling her body - with the help of Mick Castle, she opens a school, instead.

There's an attraction between Mick and Emma from the start, but of course he's married and there are going to be plenty of dramas, traumas and a big slice of heartache before they can find happiness.

This novel features a wonderful cast of characters. Mick and Emma are very real, and so are the child George and Nell the fallen woman, whose husband was killed down the pit and thinks all men are bastards really.

Elizabeth Gill is a native of the place about which she writes and she took me there. I could feel the bitter wind off the fells on my own face. When I finished reading, I was quite surprised to find myself back in the 21st century. This is an all-round great read - unreservedly recommended!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story centres around Emma who grows up in America. Various events see her travel to the north of England where her family originated from. Emma, needing a job,starts running her own school and despite opposition and prejudice news soon spreads of her academy. The story includes various characters that Emma encounters . Emma emerges as a strong willed woman throughout the book and clearly has a positive influence on all those that come into contact with her. An enjoyable read although it is rather predictable.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is clear from the many positive reviews of 'Miss Appleby's Academy', that Elizabeth Gill, the author, has many admiring followers. This is the first of her novels that I have read and I fear, on this showing, I cannot count myself amongst them.

Novels that I enjoy have to have characters whom I believe in, a storyline that is compelling and a writing style that invokes atmosphere and stimulates the senses. This book achieved none of these for me, although again, I note, it clearly worked for many others.

Much of the story is located in the north-east of England, an area that Elizabeth Gill is very familiar with. I too lived there for many years. Yet for me, the setting - its people and its places - was only superficially portrayed - there was none of the spark that others ( Can I offer Catherine Cookson for example?), have managed to capture.

The storyline limped along. It continually offered possibilities, only to disappoint. Right up to the end, I wondered if it might offer more, only for it to arrive at a very weak and abrupt conclusion. And the writing style was often very stilted and awkward.

But most of all, I just could not believe in the characters. They were poorly drawn - not at all like real people past or present. By way of example, could I offer George (the surrogate son of the principal character Emma). For the first third of the novel, I simply could not work out how old he was meant to be. Eventually, we are told he has reached the age of 13. Yet thereon, he behaves like few other emerging adolescents I have ever met.

Not for me, I am afraid.
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