In 1939, Giacinta sets sail from Italy to Australia. Decades later, a granddaughter discovers the true story of her family... A stunningly crafted novel of family, secrets and facing adversity, perfect for readers of Victoria Purman.
Imagine marrying someone you've never met ...
When Sofie comes to stay with her grandmother in Stanthorpe, she knows little of Nonna Gia's past. In the heat of that 1984 summer, the two clash over Gia's strict Italian ways and superstitions, her chilli-laden spaghetti and the evasive silence surrounding Sofie's father, who died before she was born. Then Sofie learns Gia had an arranged marriage. From there, the past begins to reveal why no-one will talk of her father.
As Nonna Gia cooks, furtively adding a little more chilli each time, she also begins feeding Sofie her stories. How she came to Australia on a 'bride ship', among many proxy brides, knowing little about the husbands they had married from afar. Most arriving to find someone much different than described.
Then, as World War II takes over the nation, and in the face of the growing animosity towards Italians that sees their husbands interned, Gia and her friends are left alone. Impoverished. Desperate. To keep their farms going, their only hope is banding together, along with Edie, a reclusive artist on the neighbouring farm and two Women's Land Army workers. But the venture is made near-impossible by the hatred towards the women held by the local publican and an illicit love between Gia and an Australian, Keith.
The summer burns on and the truth that unfolds is nothing like what Sofie expected ...
The author of Mezza Italiana brings to life a unique point of migrant women's untold experience, in a resonant novel of family, food and love. Includes 12 traditional recipes.