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Stories My Grandmothers Didn't Tell Me : Two women's journeys from war-torn Europe to a new life in Australia - Andra Putnis

Stories My Grandmothers Didn't Tell Me

Two women's journeys from war-torn Europe to a new life in Australia

By: Andra Putnis

Paperback | 2 July 2024

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When she breaks an unspoken family code not to dig too deep into the past, Andra is plunged into the bleak world of the Soviet and Nazi occupations of Latvia in World War II, and secret lives of her grandmothers.

As children, we'd sneak into Grandma's bedroom on secret missions. Her cupboard was filled with old fur coats, strange woven folk costumes and small mountains of glowing amber. We were half-scared, made breathless by our discoveries, but knew we hadn't seen it all, hadn't understood what was really hidden there.

When she breaks an unspoken family code not to dig too deeply into the past, Andra is plunged into the bleak world of the Soviet and Nazi occupations of Latvia in World War II, and the secret lives of her grandmothers.

Teenage Aline is separated from her parents and sent to serve in Germany's war-time labour force. With the much-feared Soviet army on the doorstep, pregnant Milda embarks on a desperate winter escape with her young son. They each face heart-wrenching decisions and endure years of hardship before finally voyaging to Australia. Among the tight-knit Latvian migrant community, Aline and Milda forge new lives. But even there, reminders of wartime scandal and grief threaten to drag them under.

'An elegant, absorbing story of ordinary people thrown into extraordinary crisis.' - Peter Greste

'Anyone with untold stories flowing through their DNA will find home and understanding here. I felt my own grandmother speaking to me...' - Amy Remeikis

'Deeply moving, brilliantly crafted and powerfully written' - Biff Ward

'An Australian born granddaughter discovering the stories of her Latvian grandmothers and their lives lived in very different times and circumstances...a compelling read.' - Ilze Thomas

About the Author

Andra Putnis is a writer and social researcher based in Canberra with her partner and two children. Stories My Grandmothers Didn't Tell Me is her debut book.

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