The Proxy Bride by Zoe Boccabella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the third of Zoe Boccabella’s books that I have read, and the one that I enjoyed the most. Her other two are non-fiction/memoir, whereas ‘The Proxy Bride’ is WWII historical fiction, interwoven with a nostalgic trip back to 1984 with Sofie’s story.
It is a must-read tale about the harsh realities faced by pre-war Italian migrants, both men and women. While Boccabella’s focus is on the experiences of women who put their faith in a letter and a photo, I would imagine that, for a man, making a life-long commitment to support a stranger would have been equally daunting.
The novel is well-written and evocative of both eras. However, it is the WWII timeline that is of more interest to me. Gia’s story shows the fear, violence, racism, and hardships that were endured by migrants at that time. Italian men in their thousands were arrested and interned, leaving the women to fend for themselves. The women in this story found ways to manage and survived, however secrecy and shame were their constant companions.
In summary, ‘The Proxy Bride’ is a fascinating read which reveals much about Australia and Australians at war. It is also a novel that makes you think. What would happen if history were to repeat? Would we treat migrants from enemy countries any differently? What lessons have we learnt from the past?
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My review of ‘The Proxy Bride’ by Zoe Boccabella
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