Greek characters theme for Hagerstown author

March 31, 2011|BY CHRIS COPLEY |
  • Patty Apostolides of Hagerstown has written a historical novel about love and loss in 1830s England.
Submitted photo

Hagerstown author Patty Apostolides is something of a throwback. She doesn't like the modern trend toward the salacious side of entertainment.

"People want to feel good after they read a book. If all you hear is sex and violence, you think that's all there is," she said. "There's another way of living. Love stories are uplifting. Like Jane Austen. I want to bring love and purity into my stories."

Apostolides' latest novel, "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord," has no explicit sex or violence. It's a multilayered, cross-cultural story of love and loss set mostly in England in the early 1830s.

The story is about Lily, a half-English, half-Greek girl found and adopted by gypsies as a young girl during the Greek fight for independence in 1821. During the course of the book, Lily emigrates to England, seeks to recover her father's inheritance, falls on hard times and good times and encounters Edward, an attractive gentleman.

Apostolides herself emigrated to a new country. When she was 4 1/2, she came to the United States from Greece and settled with her family in the Greek-American community in Cleveland. She stayed close to home, graduating from Case-Western Reserve University and playing viola in the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra.

Now she lives in Hagerstown with her husband, Anthony, a retired economist, and their fifth-grade son, Anthony Jr. Patty Apostolides home-schools her son and pursues her writing career. She has co-written scientific articles with her husband on issues related to health care.

And she writes novels. "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord" is her third. Her previous novels also feature Greek characters. "The Lion and the Nurse" is about a nurse who returns to the Greek island of Kos to help her sick mother. "Lipsi's Daughter" starts on another Greek island, Lipsi, as a young woman leaves her family and community for college and greater opportunities.

"I write about Greek life in the modern world — the immigrant experience, Greek food, culture, matchmaking," Apostolides said.

"The Greek Maiden and the English Lord" developed from her interest in the Greek fight for independence from Ottoman rulers in 1821. History books talk about battles and warfare, but Apostolides was interested in the effects of the war on ordinary people.

"A lot of people perished when the Ottomans attacked, but what happened to the women and children?" Apostolides said. "Many of them were taken as slaves."

It took her three years to research, write and publish the book. She published with, a print-on-demand publisher. Apostolides said the actual writing went smoothly — "I watch a little movie (in my head). The characters have their own wants and needs, and I write down what they tell me" — but tying together all the subplots at the end was a challenge.

Still, she is happy with the result.

"Love is the winner of the day," she said. "That's the theme of all my stories."

Here's an exerpt from "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord:

(With the help of a friend, Jane, Lily is moving in with a new school roommate, Miss Livingston.)

During tea break, Lily gathered her meager belongings with Jane's help and carried everything to her new room. Lily hung her dresses in the closet.

"Miss Livingston has many beautiful dresses. She must be wealthy," Jane said, eyeing the colorful dresses in the closet. "She will surely get many proposals of marriage."

"What matters wealth?" Lilly asked. "She is as cold as a fish! No one will want to ask for her."

Jane giggled. "It is known that wealth makes up for any inefficiencies."

About the book

Author: Patty Apostolides of Hagerstown

Title: "The Greek Maiden and the English Lord"

Description: Jane Austen-like love story set in Great Britain in the 1830s, 230 pages, paperback, $13.95

Website: or

Available locally at: Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro

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