"Why didn't you and Daddy want people to give you any wedding presents?" I used to ask. But my mother could never be drawn into talking about the wedding. Later, I assumed it was because she did not wish to be reminded of the ghastly mistake she had made in marrying my father.
Born in Australia in 1949, author Nadia Wheatley grew up with a sense of the mystery of her parents’ marriage. Caught in the crossfire between an independent woman and a controlling man, the child became a player in the deadly game. Was she her mother’s daughter, or her father’s creature? After her mother’s death, the ten-year-old began writing down the stories her mother had told her—of a Cinderella-like childhood, followed by an escape into a career as an army nurse in Palestine and Greece, and as an aid-worker in the refugee camps of post-war Germany. Some fifty years later, the finished memoir is not only a loving tribute but an investigation of the bewildering processes of memory itself.
About the Author
Nadia Wheatley began writing fiction in 1976, after completing postgraduate work in Australian history. Her published work includes picture books, novels for younger readers, young adult novels, short stories (for adults as well as young adults), history and biography (for adults). She has also written for television and the theatre, and has reviewed history and fiction for a number of newspapers and academic journals. Her work has received many awards and commendations including the CBC Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers (1988) and the Eve Pownall Award. She was awarded a Senior Fellowship from the Literature Fund of the Australia Council for the years 1996-1999.
Nadia Wheatley's other works for young adults include The Blooding (a VCE English set text) and The House That Was Eureka which, in its first edition, won the New South Wales Premier's Children's Book Award in 1985. The new edition, published in 2001 has been completely revised, the author has expanded the story and incorporated additional historical material.
`An important addition to the history of Australian social life and a vivid insight into how individual people can be controlled by repressive social attitudes. Wheatley reminds us of the difference between how family life is supposed to be and how it is actually experienced.' * Inside Story *
`In a moving and beautifully written memoir, Wheatley brings to life her mother's adventures...My bet is that this fascinating book will prove to be an award-winner. Highly recommended.' * Courier-Mail *
`This is a tough-minded attempt to salvage and preserve as precious tokens both the hopes and charms of a long dead mother and the things she and her exceptionally talented daughter suffered at the hands of a callous world.' * Age *
`[Her] Mother's Daughter is one of the most devastatin-g examples of gaslighting that I have ever read. It is not only a beautiful rendering of an "ordinary" life, it is also a significant social history of wartime Europe and post-war Australia.' * Australian *
`Riveting, and heartbreaking.' * Otago Daily Times *
`One of the greatest Australian biographies...a work which never confuses itself with fiction but which has the same readability and flair and command of tempo. It's a hell of a story.' -- Peter Craven * Sydney Morning Herald on The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift *
`Outstanding...a rare feat in Australian literary biography.' * Weekend Australian on The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift *