In 2001 Rebecca Huntley’s maternal grandmother – her Italian nonna – died. This sparked a decade-long search for the ‘truth’ about her grandmother’s life, and the lives of the men and women in her family from Innisfail, Northern Queensland, during the hard times of World War II.
The nonna Rebecca knew was a kind-hearted and quiet individual. Short and slight, she was a wonderful cook who embroidered every day of her life. Rebecca loved her dearly but saw her as a conservative, pliant and generally uninteresting Italian woman. After her death, however, incredible stories of her nonna as a young woman surfaced and Rebecca realised that she didn’t know her at all.
Learning more about nonna stirred up old ghosts in Rebecca’s relationship with her mother and challenged Rebecca’s own sense of self as she, pregnant with her first child, had to wonder what it really means to be a mother. With evocative stories and tender honesty, Rebecca takes us on this significant search.