Visit rural Western Australia and Italy….without leaving home.
The Sunnyvale Girls
Three generations of Stewart women share a deep connection to their family farm, but a secret from the past threatens to tear them apart.
Widowed matriarch Maggie remembers a time when the Italian prisoners of war came to work on their land, changing her heart and her home forever. Single mum Toni has been tied to the place for as long as she can recall, although farming was never her dream. And Flick is as passionate about the farm as a young girl could be, despite the limited opportunities for love.
When a letter from 1946 is unearthed in an old cottage on the property, the Sunnyvale girls find themselves on a journey deep into their own hearts and all the way across the world to Italy. Their quest to solve a mystery leads to incredible discoveries about each other, and about themselves.
Dual time settings, a recent history that beckons and beguiles, strong passionate women working on their own land – what more could you ask for? I loved the settings – as I started reading I was sitting in my own garden, coincidentally one of the protagonists was working in hers! She had the screeching of galahs as she admired her tomato plants, I raced around scaring Twenty-eights (demon parrots) from our olive trees, roses, tomatoes and anything else that looked young and fresh and green growing in our garden. Immediately I was transported and enmeshed in this story of the land.
More than a rural romance this narrative opens up a window to a local history that I quickly discovered I wanted to learn more about – the internment of POWs and immigrants in Australia during the Second World War, a population that helped shaped the countryside by working on farms in rural Australia. I am surprised that I have not come across more of this type of local history before now – this would make a brilliant heart-warming film of significant multicultural interest.
PS – did I mention the writing – flowing, fun, enjoyable and realistic. Take me to Italy any day even if only with your words.