Sara Alexander’s Dazzling Debut Novel Weaves Family Secrets and Sweeping Romance in Post-WWII Sardinia
London actress and performer Sara Alexander has cultivated a successful career in television, movies, and theater, and now she is bringing her passion and talent for storytelling to the world of fiction with her gorgeous debut novel, Under A Sardinian Sky (Kensington Books, Paperback, $15.00, April 25, 2017). Set against the beautiful backdrop of post-World War II Sardinia, this evocative novel follows a travel writer as she unravels a family mystery and discovers the star-crossed romance between an American lieutenant and a local girl.
Under a Sardinian Sky: Sometimes a family’s deepest silences hide the most important secrets. For Mina, a London-based travel writer, the enigmatic silence surrounding her aunt Carmela has become a personal obsession. Carmela disappeared from her Italian hometown long ago and is mentioned only in fragments and whispers. Mina has resisted prying, respectful of her family’s Sardinian reserve—but now, with her mother battling cancer, it s time to learn the truth.
In 1952, Simius is a busy Sardinian town surrounded by fertile farms and orchards. Carmela Chirigoni, a farmer’s daughter and talented seamstress, is engaged to Franco, son of the area’s wealthiest family. Everyone agrees it’s a good match. But Carmela’s growing doubts about Franco’s possessiveness are magnified when she meets Captain Joe Kavanagh. Joe, an American officer stationed at a local army base, is charismatic, intelligent, and married. Hired as his interpreter, Carmela resolves to ignore her feelings, knowing that any future together must bring upheaval and heartache to both families.
As Mina follows the threads of Carmela’s life to uncover her fate, she will discover a past still deeply alive in the present, revealing a story of hope, sacrifice, and extraordinary love.
Sara Alexander graduated from Hampstead School in London and went on to attend the University of Bristol, graduating with a BA hons. in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved productions such as Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Dr. Who and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow.
An interview with Sara Alexander
- How has your acting career influenced your writing?
I think the two are a complimentary pair. I’ve had the opportunity to work through a lot of wonderful texts by great writers and slip into the skin of others. This helps writing a great deal. There are many new skills that I’ve had to hone (and continue to do so!) however, which are not directly related. It’s a wonderful thing to work in two mediums that require you to travel both outside your world and very much into the heart of an internal world at the same time.
- What is the inspiration behind Under a Sardinian Sky?
My Sardinian family. There are a lot of very strong women in my family who filled me with stories from since I can remember. This story is for them.
- Why Sardinia?
It’s my true homeland. It’s the place I feel most grounded and inspired. I have felt bewitched by the place since I was a child.
- Have you always wanted to be a novelist?
My first response would be “no”, but when my son asked me the same question just the other day, I remembered how much I loved creating stories at school, how I couldn’t wait to get my stories written for homework. Recently I found my first “books” in my attic, which I’d typed up as a child. So I think the true answer is “yes” though I never couched it in those terms, I just felt compelled to dream up tales. Stories make the world go round.
- What are you working on next?
I’m almost half way into my second novel, which is set in Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. A dear friend inherited a house there and I have had a story rattling around my mind, set in that house, ever since I visited. I have a third book in mind which is also set in Italy, this time Sicily and Rome and will have a theatrical undertone. These stories are for a further two book deal with Kensington.
"Like Sardinia's Emerald Coast, Sara Alexander's Under A Sardinian Sky will dazzle you with its glittering descriptions of the Mediterranean island, its exquisite culinary treasures, and authentic, beautiful people. But it is the heroine Carmela's courage and heartbreaking choices that will leave you the most enchanted and racing through the novel to learn her extraordinary fate."
—Rosanna Chiofalo, author of Rosalia’s Bittersweet Pastry Shop