THE GIRL WHO LEFT
DEBRA GAVRANICH in conversation with LINDA COOPER
ABOUT THE GIRL WHO LEFT: Marija’s idyllic early childhood on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula is brutally disrupted by the invasion of the Italians and then the Nazis in 1941, bringing death and destruction. The devastation has left families struggling to survive years after the war has ended. In 1950 an opportunity arrives for 17-year-old Marija to escape the hunger and despair all around her by committing herself to a complete stranger in faraway North Queensland, through proxy marriage.
Taking the plunge, she leaves her family and friends, her culture, and everything she has ever known, to sail 12,000 km to a future in a land where she knows nothing and no one, whose language she doesn’t speak. Is it a chance for a better life? Will her husband be a good man? Will she ever see her family again? This is the true story of an incredibly courageous young woman who risks all in her quest to escape a still-traumatised Europe.
ABOUT DEBRA GAVRANICH: Debra Gavranich grew up on a sugarcane farm near Mossman in Far North Queensland and after travelling extensively returned to Cairns where she lives with her husband and family and works as a physiotherapist. Both her parents were born on the Croatian island of Korčula, near Split, but her father’s family migrated to Australia in the 1920s to work on the canefields, while her mother emigrated in 1952. Debra has always felt compelled to write her mother’s story, and this is the result – her first book.
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