Loretta was forced into an arranged marriage to a much older man who she did not love, by her strict Italian father. She suffered under his abusive control until World War II intervened and the handsome Italian Prisoner of War arrived on their farm in The Promised Land, NSW, Australia.
Their story of emotional conflict and forbidden love unfolded, and a child was born. When the war ended and he returned to Italy he made her a promise to return for her and their child. But her fairytale did not end the way she had hoped.
This is a story of love, betrayal and courage. Sometimes our destiny has a way of surprising us.
All my life I have felt different. Many times I had looked at the photos of the Italian prisoner of war in my mother’s old album. Each time I was constantly drawn to his handsome face and each time something stirred inside me, something I could not explain. I had never met him so why did he seem so familiar to me? I wondered … was there more to this man than just a Prisoner of War? Could he be my father? It was a question that had remained unexplained until now. I never really felt close to the man who was supposed to be my father. I never loved him like you should love your father. I could never work out why. I thought perhaps it was because I hadn’t grown up with him. I had not seen him at all between the ages of four and fourteen. Later I used to go and see him more as a sense of duty than love, I also wanted him to know his grandchildren as they grew up and to share in their lives.
Rose stood alone at the top of the headland gazing out to the rough sea. The wind was howling around her and soft drizzle had started to fall. Oblivious to this, she was lost in the emotions of the past few months. Finding out the truth about her father, losing her mother and now finding her family in Italy. Her life seemed so far away, and almost unreal.
Her whole life had been a struggle as she had helped raise her half brothers and sisters. She had been married at fifteen because she was pregnant to a man she loved. Then, over the next few years, she’d had another two children. Her husband was not the warm loving man she thought she had married. He turned out to be an abusive alcoholic and for twenty six years he made her life hell, until finally she gathered the strength and courage to leave.
Now the letter had arrived from Italy. From the family. At first they hadn’t believed her, but her Italian aunt had known the truth all this time and had told them that it was true. Rose had three sisters and a brother living in Verona. Sadly her father had passed away twelve years before. Now the family wanted her to come and meet them. They had said that she was a part of their family and she would be welcomed to her father’s birthplace with loving arms.
Now those questions that Rose had been haunted by for the past fifty years were starting to be answered. She had thought back to only a few months ago when her mother, Loretta, had been diagnosed with cancer and was told she had only a few months to live. She thought it was time to tell her daughter the truth. After fifty years of silence, and wanting peace before she died, Loretta had decided to tell Rose what had happened all those years ago.