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…
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is the first book that I have read by Sara Alexi. The story revolves round Dawn, a single woman who moved out of her mother’s home over ten years before. I have to say at the beginning of this review that I didn’t like Dawn very much and I liked her mother even less. Both these characters resented each other and yet felt that each were owed something by the other too.
As Dawn’s mother ages she is in more need of care so Dawn is left with a difficult choice. Does she put her in a home and watch all the money from her mother’s house sale be eaten away paying for her care, when she feels she has a right to it, or does she pack up her damp flat and move back home to care for her and just pay a carer to bob in at lunch time. Then when she finally dies the house can be sold and she will get half the proceeds, her sister in Australia getting the other half.
Dawn’s mum is a vile woman who constantly has her other daughter on a pedestal. Dawn can do no right, never good enough, never smart enough and never there when Dawn needed her the most. So both these women came across as not very nice to me. There is a back story, which you find out about, but I really was horrified at Dawn and the things she does late in the book. I felt Dawn had more of her mother in her than she thought.
This side of Dawn is only when she is with her mother, when she is with her work mates and out and about with them she comes across as caring and sweet. She has a real passion for her job too. Reading this book felt like being a fly on the wall seeing things and hearing them that no-one else would ever know about. There is so many harsh behind closed-door realities in this story.
For all of my not liking either of the main characters, the story is totally gripping. Very sad in so many ways. I believe that other books in the series have characters that drift into the other books, so I am sure more will be seen of Dawn in the future.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sara Alexi is from Oxford in England but now silts her time between there and 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, to enrich her vision for both writing and painting.
She wrote her first novel THE ILLEGAL GARDENER in 2012 with massive success and The Greek Village series was born which allowed her to became a full time writer over night.
Sara began writing later in life. In school English lessons were a time of confusion, books indecipherable hieroglyphics. Dyslexia was not well understood then and no support was available. The joy of reading and writing were cancelled by the teacher’s red pen …
Despite her dyslexia Sara qualified as a psychotherapist and ran her own practice for years. Her artistic nature was, at that time, confined to painting and she exhibited widely.
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 and she has been a prolific writer ever since.
Her ‘Greek Village Series’ has been very well received and provides a keenly observed, compassionate insight into the Greek people and culture, and the human condition in general.