The Illegal Gardener
Book 1 – Published July 2012
An entrancing story of the burgeoning relationship that develops between two people from very different backgrounds and cultures, an English woman living in Greece and the Pakistani illegal immigrant who becomes her gardener and house boy.
Each comes with their own problems, their own past baggage, and she explores these with sympathy and understanding as well as the many nuances of the differences in cultures as they become more and more dependent on each other.
This is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading…
Book 2 – Published September 2012
Marina is a gentle soul who makes a modest living in her corner shop. Her husband died years ago, and her children have grown up. Life is pleasantly predictable, if a little dull.
But not even her daughters know that thirty five years ago Marina spent lonely months on a nearby island, and the events of that summer have haunted her ever since.
Now Marina’s daughter is planning to move to the same island and the past and present threaten to collide with dreadful consequences.
Black Butterflies follows Marina reluctantly revisiting the island. She has a plan, of sorts, to avert possible tragedy but in doing so she will come face to face with the consequences of her long kept secret. Will she be in time, and why does she never go anywhere without her big black bag?
Packed with a troupe of colourful characters that intertwine in a gripping story, Black Butterflies is by turn uproariously funny, touching or sad.
Exploring themes of bigotry and how doing what we think is for the best can unwittingly harm those we love, this is a gentle journey to one woman’s redemption.
The Explosive Nature of Friendship
Book 3 – Published December 2012
Mitsos, one of the friends, and now an old man, leads a solitary and ordered life, which is interrupted by the arrival of his young nephew, whom he reluctantly agrees to babysit.
To amuse the child, he recounts tales from his own youth, which are both romantic and tragic, while also being funny, and touching.
In the telling of these tales he is prompted to reassess the past and to come to terms with the events of a single day that has haunted him for twenty years, and all that led up to it.
A letter gives him a chance to rectify his biggest wrong and gain the peace he is seeking.
But is what he has sought for the last twenty years what he wants now? Is he the man he thought he was?
Set against a backdrop of a small Greek farming village, comedy and tragedy are present in equal measures.
Sara transports you to a land of sea and sun as she explores what it means to be human, and fallible. The book examines the nature of friendship, and how our choices and our perceptions of our place in society can define us.
The Gypsy’s Dream
Book 4 – Published March 2013
Alone, with very little money, no Greek and no way to contact her friend Jackie, who has lined up a bar job for her, Abby finds she has to stand on her own two feet for the first time…
She meets Stella, who runs the local ouzeri – a rough and ready eatery were farmers gather to drink and take refuge from their domestic lives.
Stella does not need a naive young English girl hanging around, and the ouzeri is not the glamorous bar that Abby had bargained for.
But when events throw them together, the situation brings to the boil tensions that have been brewing for years, the ripples drawing in other people in the village, threatening Abby’s ability to ever leave, culminating in shocking unforeseen events and the uncovering of dark secrets that change peoples’ thinking about themselves and others permanently.
The Art of Becoming Homeless
Book 5 – Published September 2013
Disenchanted with life as a high-flying lawyer in London, when her firm decides to send her to Athens to handle a case she jumps at the opportunity.
Before work begins on Monday Michelle decides to squeeze in a sun-filled weekend on an island but a chance encounter on the boat across and a tragic accident throw her plans into disarray and threaten to change the entire course of her life…
In the Shade of the Monkey Puzzle Tree
Book 6 – Published December 2013
‘The struggle of a Man to move out from the shadow of his father and make his mark in the world.’
‘This is the most satisfying book I have read in some time’
‘ The stories take you away from grey skies into a wonderful setting of sunshine, but most of all fabulous story telling.’
‘In The Shade Of The Monkey Puzzle Tree is a warm, rich read. I plan to seek out other novels in the The Greek Village Collection’
‘I devoured this book not wanting to put it down.’
‘I cannot recommend enough this new and lovely tale.’
‘A good portrayal of emotions and the sense of right and wrong. A really good read and the ending not as I expected.’
A Handful of Pebbles
Book 7 – Published June 2014
But Sarah’s own marriage is strained, and now that her children have grown up and left home she finds herself questioning her role of wife and mother.
Meeting up with her best friend Michelle, who is also over for the wedding, and whom she has not seen for years adds a further dimension, and why does Sarah feel so unsettled in the presence of Nicolaos, the shepherd who she seems to keep bumping into ..?
Praise for A Handful of Pebbles
– ‘This was an emotional book, of loss and regret and of the chance to change things and make a new start.’
– ‘This story is so rich in content that you really feel for the characters and go on a journey with them. I am starting my own collection of pebbles ! A must read for anyone, anytime or anyplace.’
– ‘This is Sara Alexi’s seventh book in the ‘Greek Village Collection’ and is as good if not better than the first one! (No need to read in order.) The story is about loss, regret and the belief that you can be whoever you want to be…’
– ‘Excellent writer , excellent book’
– ‘This is one of those books where you just don’t want it to end.’ – Micheal Finlayson (Amazon top 1000 reviewer.)
– ‘Her storytelling is so good it is easy to ignore the depth of her characterisation,’
– ‘After reading this I have to say the Greek Village Series just gets better and better.’
– ‘Was enthralled by the twists and turns; particularly at the end.’
– ‘The Characters, the descriptions and the whole atmosphere that Sara Alexi provides, a truly great storyteller.’
– ‘This book is one giving hope to many who think their life, as it is, is all there is. It made me very reflective of my own life and left me wondering…’
The Unquiet Mind
Book 8 – Published October 2014
But when the family’s donkey dies, the burden rests on him to make the journey over to the mainland to buy a new one…
Reluctantly, and fearing he will not be able to cope with the wider world, Yanni resolves to make the trip, and in doing so to face his own demons.
One hope spurs him on, and that is the chance of being reunited with Sophia, his childhood sweetheart who was sent away to the mainland at an early age, and whom he has not seen or heard from since.
Will Yanni be able to find Sophia, and will she even remember him?
Once again Sara Alexi spins a masterful yarn that delves deep into the heart of more characters from the Greek village, and exposes more of what it means to be human, and fallible…
Watching the Wind Blow
Book 9 – Published November 2014
Set in the Aegean sea, under the Mediterranean sun, Watching the Wind Blow is a tale of a girl and a man who are thrown together unwillingly in circumstances that are soon beyond anyone’s control.
The endless blue sky and calm clear waters are no more than a tease for Irini, as it soon becomes clear that her life is at risk.
Stumbling to keep herself safe she finds herself revisiting a time in her life that has left her scarred and scared. She has no idea how huge the cost, or the amount of love she needs to heal these wounds.
If you enjoyed ‘The Pact’ or ‘The Story Teller’ by Jodi Picoult, ‘Necessary Lies’ by Diane Chamberlain, ‘The Thread’ or ‘The Island’ by Victoria Hislop or ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce or any of Irvin G. Yalom’s publications you’ll love this book…
The Reluctant Baker
Book 10 – Published March 2015
There is a lazy Mediterranean village full of colourful characters.
There is sunshine and wine and a long sandy beach…
There are nagging in-laws, jealous neighbours and a plot to bankrupt the new hotel before it has opened its doors, and some scenes that are just a little bit unexpected.
Set against this backdrop is an uplifting story of resilience in the face of adversity.
Please do not purchase this book if you want to keep your feet on the ground – this book is not for you.
The English Lesson
Book 11 – Published April 2015
Toula receives an invitation to her granddaughter’s third birthday.
To attend means a trip from her beloved Greece to England, where her daughter’s family have settled.
Her husband refuses to go and in his refusal it is implied that she cannot go either.
It has been a lifetime of this; a lifetime of being the woman behind the man, her voice heard less and less.
Now, in the final years of her life, perhaps it is time to take action, time to strike out alone, time to take advantage of whatever life offers her.
The truth is she can do whatever she wants to do, go to any extreme, if she is prepared to accept the consequences.
The Priest’s Well
Book 12 – Published May 2015
Savvas has been assigned a position as the priest in a remote Greek village, following a scandal in the US.
It’s what his mother would have wished for, but for a young ambitious clergyman it seems like a backward step.
He soon finds himself embroiled in petty village politics, and caught between the spiteful Maria, and the complex and alluring Nefeli…
When he finds his predecessor’s diaries the story takes a darker turn and Savvas begins to struggle to maintain his own sanity.
A Song Amongst the Orange Trees
Book 13 – Published July 2015
Sakis wins the a major European song competition in Kharkiv, the Ukraine, but with a song that he considers cheap and musically poor.
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The Stolen Book
Book 14 – Published August 2015
Hidden under dust, stacked and forgotten lay the book.
Just a pamphlet really, only within its pages it promised to show a way to unlimited wealth right out of the circumstances that surrounded her.
It wasn’t hers, she shouldn’t take it, but with two sons to educate and a poorly paid farmer as a husband it promised her just what she needed.
So, to start her journey, she became a thief.
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The Rush Cutter’s Legacy
Book 15 – Published October 2015
Born and bred in a small agricultural village, Vasso spends her days in the yellow wooden kiosk at its heart, keeping the locals supplied with cigarettes, sweets, ice creams and more.
By now, Vasso knows the stories of most of her fellow villagers, and can often be found sharing them over a frappé with her friend Juliet. But Juliet has noticed that Vasso rarely talks about herself.
Why is Vasso so reluctant to share her own story? Why did she leave the village for Orino Island one summer, many years ago – and what was it that finally drove her back?
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Saving Septic Cyril
Book 16 – Published November 2015
In a dim terraced house on a cobbled street in West Yorkshire, Cyril gives refuge to all the stray dogs, abandoned furniture and broken toys he finds.
The ghosts of his past find their way in anyway – and now one of his neighbours wants him evicted.
When Saabira moves in next door with her husband Aaman and their young daughter, she hopes the family has left all its troubles behind in Pakistan.
But memories can be stubborn things, and Saabira has a few that even the wild winds from the moors can’t shake.
Cyril just wants to be left in peace. Saabira just feels compelled to reach out.
With all their differences, can the two of them begin to trust each other?
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Book 17 – Published March 2016
Rallou wakes up one day to find that her dreams have escaped her. The children are grown and gone, and her husband is no longer the man she married.
Their house is not their own, and Rallou has not achieved the things she thought she would with her life.
Has she really made the choices that have determined her life, or is it a case of ‘once a village girl always a village girl’? Either way, it is not enough…
As she ponders her position, a force of nature shatters all she has known and her husband goes missing. Is this the catalyst she needs to make some big decisions, or must she settle for a life that feels less than satisfactory?
Set against the backdrop of a sunny Greek island, ‘Being Enough’ is a simple tale that will resonate with anyone who has ever questioned whether there is more to life.
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A Wander Through the Village
Book 18 – Published April 2016
Grigoris sits under his olive tree, reluctant to go home and face the wrath of his wife, Lena… He’s not been able to sell the oranges this year, and she’s going to furious!!!
Just then, a little green fly lands on his shirt, and it gives him an idea – something he can use to explain why the crop failed, and deflect the blame. It’s a bold lie, but it might just work…
A Wander Through the Village is a collection of short stories, in which we meet old friends and some new ones. In addition, the book is a guide to the Greek village, listing the characters and Greek phrases that are used in each of the first fifteen books, as well as notes about what inspired me to write each of them, what I was hoping to achieve in the process and a set of questions for book clubs. I hope you find these interesting. Oh, and there are maps of the village and Orino Island, too!
And finally – because I could not resist – I have included some wonderful pictures of beautiful Greece. If you haven’t read all the books in the series, please note that the handbook section includes spoilers…
Happy reading, Sara Alexi
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A Stranger in the Village
Book 19 – Published July 2016
There’s a mysterious stranger in the village…
Who is he, and what does he want?
At least two of the women in the village feel there is something familiar about him, but what is the connection?
Book 18 of the Greek Village Collection will transport you!
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A Self Effacing Man
Book 20 – Published October 2016
If it is in your nature to put others before yourself, what do you do when someone makes a play for the person you have secretly loved for years?
Maria is illiterate, and Cosmo, the village postman, is obliged to read the love letters he delivers to her. He stammers over the words and blushes at the feelings he cannot bring himself to voice.
However life is not always predictable and a sudden twist in events throws him in the role of village hero.
But will this change be enough to enable him to overcome his shyness and declare his feelings to the woman he has loved all his life, and will she even be interested after all these years?
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The Greek Village Colouring Book
Book 21 – Published November 2016
Wow, life is so hectic these days!
Everything seems to be keyed up to keep us permanently moving in the fast lane.
We are constantly available through our phones and social media and it can feel as if the world expects us to juggle our time and to continuously keep going no matter what.
Well, let’s take a breath and, just for a second, let’s see if we can’t do things a little differently.
The Mediterraneans have long been considered to hold the secrets of longevity and mostly we have attributed this to their diets. But having lived in Greece for many years I suspect it is more than that. I have never met a group of people more happy to just sit and be, in the present moment, and at these times they are relaxed and free of the stresses and strains of the modern world.
Some call this mindfulness – the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment, and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key factor contributing to happiness and wellbeing.
But how easy to slip into a dream, stare without judgement at the beautiful landscapes of Italy or Greece! With this in mind, it seems clear that a therapeutic colouring book based on these images could be a great aid to relaxation and the practice of mindfulness. Researchers have acknowledged the therapeutic qualities of art for years, and recent studies suggest that art therapy, practiced in a mindful way, can significantly to decrease symptoms of physical and emotional distress. One study concluded that after only one hour of art therapy, adults of all ages ’overwhelmingly expressed comfort’ and a desire to continue with the therapy.
So I offer you The Greek Village colouring book. Half of the images I have drawn, and the others I feel do a better job of the subject than I could do myself. I love to draw but these days all my time is taken by writing The Greek Village series – a positive, feel-good set of books set under warm skies.
Consequently I did not feel I could bring out a drawing book without slotting a few stories in between the images, just short enough to be read in one gulp and leave you smiling, or contemplating, or both.
My hope is that you become lost in the images and transported by your creations.
May time slow down and I hope you find peace within these pages.
The Piano Raft
Book 22 – Published January 2017
The Piano Raft is an unforgettable, heart-warming story about love, a piano and a hand-built raft that will have you enthralled, laughing and sitting on the edge of your seat as you sail (precariously) upon the rivers and canals from Yorkshire to London.
Neil, a disillusioned art student, wakes to find himself drifting down a canal on a raft, accompanied by a small fluffy dog, to the sound of his girlfriend’s piano being played by a stranger. Through the fog of his hangover, he tries to piece together the events of the night before which brought him to this curious and unexpected situation, and to work out what on earth to do next.
The current is carrying him swiftly on towards the capital, where Kim, the piano’s owner, has recently started a new life.
As Neil’s journey continues, and whilst trying to conjure the courage to win Kim back, his story captures the hearts and imaginations of the country as locals in the towns he passes and national media alike follow this unlikely hero on his equally unlikely adventure.
How will these extraordinary circumstances challenge and change a man whose life has been stuck in first gear, and who now needs to decide how far he will go for the woman he loves?
The current is swift, and there’s no turning back…
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Book 23 – Published April 2017
A tale of love and heartbreak, taking us back in time to the idyllic Greek island of Orino, where the secrets and ill-fated love of one young woman are relived in a bid to save another from the same mistakes.
As a young woman, Poppy travelled to Orino Island as housekeeper for a wealthy family. A romance burgeoned between Poppy and Pantelis, the owner’s son, but a tragic turn of events led him to cruelly abandoning her.
With no option but to stay on at the empty house as the housekeeper, Poppy was thrown into a predicament when Pantelis eventually returned with a pregnant new wife who, after giving birth, had no interest in the upbringing of her own children.
Left in her care, could Poppy bring herself to raise Pantelis’s children by another woman? And what became of the feelings Pantelis once had for Poppy?
Now nearing the end of her life, and recovering from an accident that has left her bed-ridden, some news about Pantelis means Poppy must come to terms with the course her life has taken, and in turn she must try to stop her good friend Juliet from making the same mistakes.
Unable to turn back the clocks, will there be time to save someone else’s future?