Character Interview: Ellie Hathaway from The Palaver Tree, by Wendy Unsworth
Book Title and Author:
The Palaver Tree by Wendy Unsworth
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Main Character Name:
What was your life like growing up?
My life was safe but not entirely happy. I had a lot of responsibility early on. My mother was widowed when I was just a toddler and her health was never good. She relied on me a great deal as a helper and companion.
Before your story began, what were your hopes for the future?
My future had really just begun. I met a man. No one in the village could believe it. Me! A spinster who looked like she would always be that way, swept off her feet by a wealthy man. He was a good man too. I may not have been madly in love but I respected him and I cared for him. I wanted to be a good wife.
What changed that?
There was a tragedy, in one night everything changed.
How would you describe your personality?
I’m generally cheerful and I’ve got a good sense of humour. I don’t lose my temper unless I’m really pushed. I’m a believer in fate and that, ultimately, people get what they deserve. Diane, my best friend says I’m too soft and too forgiving. She’s probably right but I don’t believe that is a bad way to be.
How would you describe your looks?
I’m okay to look at, just ordinary. People say I have expressive eyes; apparently I get those from my father. I would have liked to be a little taller; stood in a crowd I’m always looking up!
What’s your greatest talents?
Oh, I’m not talented, as such. I’m a primary school teacher so I suppose that’s some kind of achievement. I like to think I’m a good person. I try to help others.
Who are your closest friends?
Diane Henderson is my pal. When I told her I needed to get away from the village, that I wanted to go to Africa and teach she pointed out every obstacle she could think of, just because she was worried for me. But even though she didn’t want me to go she helped me through everything that followed that decision.
Who do you love?
I love lots of people; Diane, of course and other caring people in Berriwood, like Peg Finnie, my housekeeper and I love my gorgeous puppy Gusto. But I am also ‘in love’ with Marc Van Rooyen. I’m a lucky lady!
Who do you hate, and why?
Before, I would have said ‘no one’ but now, after all I’ve been through, I do hate Gabriel Cole. I hate him for what he did to Diane and Tiffany and Promise and Pax and probably countless others and for what he did to me.
What do you think is going to happen next?
I think I am going to live happily ever after or die in the attempt!
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