The Other Daughter by Sara Alexi ** Blog Tour Character Interview and Review**

It is marvellous to be able to welcome you to my stop on the tour to celebrate The Other Daughter, by Sara Alexi. I thoroughly enjoyed Sara's last book, The Piano Raft 
and her latest novel is from her new series, The Yorkshire Village. Sara has faciliatated an interview with Dawn, the central character in The Other Daughter so you can get to know her a little better. Before we meet Dawn, here's a little about the book. 

The Other Daughter by Sara Alexi is a compelling and gritty tale, set amongst the wild moors and crooked streets of a Yorkshire Village, following one woman who finally untangles herself from the clutches of a painful past and a self-centred mother.

More than a decade after leaving home Dawn finds herself stuck in a dead-end job, in a rundown flat, while her sister has it all - the husband, children and prestigious job in sunny Australia. Their mum’s favouritism is palpable, and even as she has a terrible fall leaving Dawn to pick up the pieces, nothing Dawn does can live up to her perfect, absent sister.

But still Dawn persists with taking care of her aging and fragile mum, until one day it begins to feel like the only thing standing between Dawn and her happiness is her mother's continued, pitiful existence...
Welcome to Books, Life and Everything, Dawn (and Sara) 
  Can you describe yourself in 15 words?

Oh that's embarrassing! Not sure I'm comfortable with this sort of attention... Oh I'm out of words. (laughs nervously)
What do you remember about your childhood and parents?

Emotionally absent. I don't remember Dad very clearly. Before he got depressed he was away a lot working, and after that he was inside his own head. Mum doted on Amanda, that's my younger sister, and so I suppose I copied Dad's example and retreated. Life was painful.
What will you say to your sister when you next see her?

Well, if I ever do see her again! She's got no reason to come back to this country now. Gosh it's been ages, can't think how many years since I last actually saw her. We talk on the phone now and then, I suppose we could Skype. Probably we'll both behave as if nothing has changed...
What similarities are there between you and your mother?

Oh blimey! None I hope... (laughs). But I am aware that we both tend to fill the spaces we live in with organised clutter, so I guess she deals with loneliness in the same way I do. Hm, loneliness... I didn't expect that word to come out.

  What makes you 1) angry 2) happy?

Hm... Not sure I do anger. I do get annoyed when folk don't do the things they ought. I wouldn't get away with it! A couple of things give me happiness. One is the sight of a lonely moor stretching out to the distance under a moody sky, nothing but grouse and peewits calling, and not another person to be seen. That fills my soul. But for laugh out loud happiness I would say a kitten playing, a naughty puppy, or a rabbit jumping free. That sort of thing. Animals have no malice, d'you know what I mean?
Is your watercolour painting course important to you and why?

I have to be honest, I only went along to that because June was doing it. We've been friends since school, and time has become precious for her. This seemed like a way to see her regularly. We're both rubbish at it, but we have a giggle and it takes us back years, as if we're at school again.
  What does home mean to you?

For some reason that word scares me. I feel more like I've had places where I've lived, rather than a home. I can't wait for a time in my life when I have a little place that's my own, that really is my own, and I can lock the doors front and back and feel safe. Maybe if I had a place like that I'd invite friends back.
Which do you prefer, people or animals?

No competition! Animals. Next question.
Have you any secrets?

Not really. What you see is what you get with me. But you know what, I have a feeling the future is going to be completely different, and I'll make sure I do have some secrets that I won't tell anyone.
Where do you think you will be in ten years time?

Wow, good question. Making those secrets real I hope. I'm going to shake up my life, and that will include work and travel and friends. I intend to live life to the max. What's there to stop me?

That's fantastic to hear, Dawn. Good luck at making those secrets!

My Thoughts

As I live on the edges of Yorkshire (you'd be amazed how much local politics is bound up in that statement) I love the setting for this new series. It was interesting getting to know Dawn, who seems so dissatisfied with her life at first. The relationship between Dawn and her mother is palpably raw and difficult, especially as she is not the favoured child and wounded by some of the ways her mother makes this very clear.  However, Dawn is the daughter who has stayed around and you really begin to feel for her. 

Saddleworth, Yorkshire
   The story Saving Sceptic Cyril was the first in this new series of stories based around a Yorkshire village and characters from The Piano Raft have also moved in. I always enjoy it when characters from books overlap and there is the feeling that this is going to be a tight knit community. You really begin to root for Dawn to settle and make a true home for herself. Really she is looking for acceptance for who she is- something her mother doesn't seem to have been able to give her.

    There is humour as well as pathos throughout and all in all, the story feels grounded and down to earth. Anyone who has worked in Local Government will appreciate some of the details in Dawn's daily grind and how she tries to do her job despite having very little authority. I hope Dawn turns up in subsequent Yorkshire Village stories. I'd like to know how she is getting on.

In short: Great characterisation and a story which makes you want to visit the village again.

About the Author

Sara Alexi is one of the top 150 most successful, self-published authors of all time; a prolific writer, she has written 15 books (and counting) in just four years, with book sales reaching well over half a million copies.  

Remarkably, Sara is dyslexic. At school English lessons were a time of confusion, she found that books were indecipherable hieroglyphics and she was unable to enjoy reading and writing; growing up in a time when at a time when dyslexia was not well understood and little or no support was available. And so her artistic nature was confined to painting, an art form that she loved and would take her travelling around the world.

Despite her dyslexia Sara qualified as a psychotherapist and ran her own practice in Yorkshire for many years. In a casual conversation with a client, she discovered that Agatha Christie, Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen were all dyslexic, and Sara’s perspective changed. The world of fiction opened to her with this shift in perception.

Sara now spends much of her time in a tiny rural village in the Peloponnese, in Greece, where she is (very slowly) renovating a ruined stone farmhouse, whilst observing the Greek way of life and absorbing the culture, enriching her vision for both writing and painting.

Sara’s ‘Greek Village Series’ is inspired by the people she has met travelling, her time spent in Greece alongside her career as a psychotherapist; her writing provides a keenly observed, compassionate insight into people, culture, and the human condition, and is set around a charming rural Greek village

Predating the current refugee crisis in Greece by some three years, Sara’s debut novel, The Illegal Gardener, focuses on the immigration problems in Greece, and the clash of cultures that accompanies those seeking a better life in the West.

 You can follow Sara here: Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

 Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Sara Alexi and Twinkle Troughton for a copy of the book and a place on the tour!

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