Hope is my Second Name by Caro Hope Mathews

Caro Hope Mathews

978-1-922440-71-6, **Price includes shipping within Australia**
  • $37.95

Hope is my Second Name

Caro Hope Mathews

Two young children, newcomers to Australia in the 1950s, are left in a children’s home by their father. The story begins with this drama of separation and leans back into the past to uncover the circumstances of this unfortunate event and its unexpected outcome.

Emerging from the early 20th century, the narrative follows the threads of two families as they weave through four generations in South Asia, culminating in immigration to Australia. These two strands of history traverse important historical events that changed colonial empires as well as individual lives.

We meet the first family in India in the 1920s where the early death of a violent husband causes a young Irish/French woman to raise her family alone in the highlands of southern India, rather than return to her homeland. As her family grows, the magic of their childhood, spent in the jungles of the Western Ghats with monkeys, tigers and the Indian people that surround them, colours their lives. As the children reach adulthood, life takes over and Indian Independence, Partition and the 2nd World War create untenable conditions.

The life of the second family depicts the childhood of children born to a Scottish tea-planter and his beautiful Indian wife in the highlands of Ceylon at the turn of the 20th century. Their idyllic life is similarly shattered by tragedy which causes them to leave Ceylon for Singapore. Whilst family life in Singapore initially is full of happiness, the Japanese invasion and subsequent Fall of Singapore as well as forced evacuation finds the separated family in Ceylon once again, but now as refugees.

Three generations later, four present-day daughters set out on a personal quest to travel into the landscapes of the stories they were told as children in order to reconnect and trace family footsteps. Through their travels in India and Ceylon they discover steep-forested mountains, manicured tea plantations, fragrant spice forests, burning bodies and the warmth and richness of cultures, as they interact with the people of South Asia.

Family stories told over generations, form the basis of this narrative that weaves together family saga, memoir and travelogue. These reveal love and loss, tragedy and joy, despair and hope. The strength of women, dealing with raising a family, battling adversity and racism, is woven throughout this narrative as the world changes around them.

A number of historical and contemporary travel photos enrich the text.


Published: 2020

Trim size: 6 x 9 (15.24 x 22.86 cm)

Page count: 134

Internal pages: B&W and colour

Binding: Paperback 

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