Some great book news: Suitcase of Dreams, the long-awaited sequel to Tania Blanchard’s runaway bestseller, The Girl From Munich, is out and is a great page-turner, every bit as compelling.
Set in 1956 Australia, Suitcase of Dreams finds Lotte Drescher trying to move on after enduring the horrors of Nazi Germany and the chaos of postwar occupation. With her husband, Erich, she is bravely beginning a new life in the land of opportunity where the couple hope to start afresh and build a future for their family.
But they soon discover that finding their place in Australian society and beginning all over again, is far from easy. There are huge sacrifices to be made and they are surrounded by doubt and uncertainty. After a long struggle, Erich finally establishes a successful wood carving business, and Lotte is able to turn her life-long passion of photography into a career. The couple feel as if they have made it. Finally, they can try to leave the trauma of the past behind them and move on, to enjoy a new chapter of peace and prosperity.
But their newfound sense of security doesn’t last for long. The landscape of 1950s Australia is one of upheaval, with the country in the grip of change. The political climate is precarious and Erich’s role in the trade union movement threatens to have him branded a communist, his activities endangering both him and his family. The Vietnam war looms like a dark cloud on the horizon and secrets from Lotte and Erich’s past seem to have followed them across the seas to haunt them and threaten their future.
Suitcase of Dreams, inspired by the true story of Tania’s grandparents, is both a gripping tale of love and identity, and a fascinating exploration of post-war devastation, of the immense strength and perseverance required to rebuild shattered lives anew. Not only interesting historically, the novel resonates today in a world struggling to cope with new waves of refugees.
With so much written about war-time experiences, it’s incredibly refreshing to read Suitcase of Dreams which focuses not on the collective horrors, but on the way in which war damages individuals, uproots them and leaves them with nothing but their own strength and endurance to carry on. Tania’s deeply personal story of post-war integration, paints a beautiful picture of human resilience and bravery, reminding us all of the amazing strength of the human spirit when called upon, and our ability to overcome great hardship.
Those of you who enjoyed The Girl From Munich will relish Blanchard’s emotive and evocative language and seemingly effortless ability to transport you to another place and time. For history-lovers, this book is a treasure trove of living memories that provide remarkable insight into 1950s Australian politics and social attitudes. Alongside her own family history, Tania’s painstakingly research of the period lends Blanchard’s book an unmistakable air of authenticity that makes it all the more powerful.
Suitcase of Dreams is a truly absorbing and intriguing story that captures the essence of an era and brings with it hope and inspiration – just what we all need this time of the year.
About the author:
TANIA BLANCHARD was inspired to write by the fascinating stories her German grandmother told her as a child. Coming from a family with a rich cultural heritage, stories have always been in her blood. Tania was discovered at one of bestselling author Fiona McIntosh’s masterclasses. Her first novel published by Simon & Schuster Australia, The Girl from Munich was a runaway bestseller. Tania lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.