Apple Gidley, an Anglo-Australian author whose life has been spent absorbing many countries and cultures, considers herself a global nomad. She has called twelve countries home (Papua New Guinea, Thailand, The Netherlands and nine others, including Australia where she spent seven years at New England Girls School, Armidale. She has moved 26 times and her experiences are described in her first book, Expat Life Slice by Slice – Summertime 2012.
Her roles have been varied – magazine editor, intercultural trainer, interior designer, Her Britannic Majesty’s Honorary Consul in Equatorial Guinea. Apple believes that to know a place we have to become involved in that place, not be a mere bystander. To learn the history in order to understand the present and to prepare for the future. Now writing full time, Apple evocatively portrays peoples and places with empathy and humour, whether writing travel articles, blogs, short stories or full-length fiction.
Her first novel, Fireburn, set in the Danish West Indies of the 1800s, launched on October 1st (OC Publishing 2017), to commemorate the day of the workers’ rebellion on Saint Croix in 1878. The sequel, Transfer, launched on March 31st, 2019 to coincide with the anniversary of the transfer of the Danish West Indies to American ownership. Learn more about Apple on her website www.applegidley.com/.
The Danish-owned island of 1870s Saint Croix vibrates with passion and tension as Anna Clausen, a young Anglo-Danish woman, returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. Her heart sinks at what she finds on arrival. Her father is ailing and desolate and her beloved plantation, Anna’s Fancy, which has been in the Clausen family for three generations, is in shambles.
The unwelcome lust of one man and forbidden love for another makes Anna’s return to Saint Croix even more turbulent. Despite the decline in the sugar industry she is determined to retain Anna’s Fancy but must first win the trust of her field workers, of Sampson the foreman, and the grudging respect of Emiline the cook and local weed woman.
Fireburn tells of the horrors of a little-known, bloody period of Caribbean history. Anna weathers personal heartache as she challenges the conventions of the day, the hostility of the predominantly male landowners and survives the worker rebellion of 1878, 30 years after Emancipation.
ISBN: 978-0-9952841-1-1 -paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9952841-4-2 - eBook
Transfer traces the lives of those on Anna’s Fancy, the Clausen estate on Saint Croix in the Danish West Indies, handed down through three generations. An historical novel and the sequel to Fireburn (OC Publishing 2017), Transfer sees Niels Clausen, the illegitimate child of a Danish landowner and his black mistress who both died as a result of the 1878 worker revolt, leave his adoptive mother’s sugar plantation and sail to England to continue his education.
With the help of Toby, a British aristocrat, Ivy, a lady’s maid turned lady and her botanist husband, Timothy, Niels challenges the perceptions on the streets of London of a black man at the turn of the 20th century. His development as a writer and political protagonist continues as he travels to Denmark and France where he meets up with childhood friends, Javier and Fabiana Gomez, before returning to Saint Croix.
The Danish West Indies face an uncertain future as the declining sugar industry lessens Denmark’s interest in their colonial outpost. Niels becomes increasingly involved in the future of the islands as war looms and concerns grow that Germany might covet a presence in the Caribbean. Will the islands’ security be guaranteed by the transfer of power to America?
The highs and lows of Niels’ life are punctuated by the crossing of oceans and cultures as well as the political manoeuvrings of a turbulent time in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.
ISBN: 978-1-9990156-0-2 -paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9990156-2-6 - eBook
"Transfer is also about St. Croix moving from being a colonial outpost of Denmark to becoming a part of the United States Virgin Islands. Change is in the wind for all. I was captivated by the well researched portrayal of each character and their interactions with real historical figures and places during the turn of the century."
– Globalmom, Amazon reviewer
"You should gather a mug of coffee and some small cookies next to a comfortable chair and sit down with FIREBURN and prepare yourself for an interesting and enjoyable read. Once I began the book I was riveted and actually sat and read the entire book without pausing except for the occasional 'walkabout'. The characters come alive making the reader want to know what will happen to the characters and to the island itself."
– Kathryn L.E. Rabinow, Amazon reviewer