The Last Of The Bonegilla Girls
By Victoria Purman
This book is very insightful into the lives of our migrants when they first arrived into Australia. We live in a multicultural society and Victoria has done a marvellous job with all the research to portray how these migrants came to live in Australia and to finally call Australia home.
It starts in 1954 after the second world war. Ships full of migrants want a better life arrive in Australia and are sent to Bonegilla camp to start their new lives. This story follows the Elizabeta and her family that have arrived from Germany. Their first home is Bonegilla Migrant Camp on the banks of the Murray in rural Victoria.
Elizabeta makes good friends while staying at the camp. They are the Vasiliki who is Greek, Iliana who is Italian and Frances who is the camp’s director daughter.
This story is heartbreaking at times and you made shed a tear or two. It has all the family dramas and more. As I read this book it made me think of my own mum who came her from Germany with her mum and started life here in a camp also. The characters in this book make you realise just how hard it really is to leave your life behind in another country and to have to start again. They all tried to keep their family traditions and it was hard for the older members to change their ways.
The story continues as the Bonegilla girls leave the camp with their families and start new lives throughout Australia. They continue to remain friends even though at times it is hard and their lives are pulling them in different directions.
I was left speechless after finishing this book. It is a story that will stay with me from a very long time.
I would highly recommend this book. It is not normally a book that I would read but the blurb got me interested and I thought why not try something different. I am so glad that I did as this book had me captivated throughout.
Thank you, Victoria, for writing such a superb book.
“One in twenty Australians have links to Bonegilla through migration of the post-war era.”
If you are one on those people, this book is going to make you think more about how your family would have coped through their migration to Australia. I know that I rang my mum to talk to her but she was only two at the time and did not remember much and my Nanna passed away many, many years ago but I know that she would not have talked about her past. She kept it all bottled up and her secrets went to the grave with her. Even as a child I remember she would talk German to other German families and friends but she would not talk German to us. As she always said “you are Australian and you speak English not German.” I must admit that I did not get on well with my Nanna and I always thought she was a sauerkraut. But this book has opened my eyes more to understand her a little better.
Thank you to Harlequin Australia and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.
Expected publication: April 23rd 2018 by Harlequin (Australia) TEEN/MIRA
See you in the next chapter.