Anneli Purchase, a British Columbia author who once lived in Dawson Creek, has just published her third book, Julia’s Violinist.
Can you imagine the horror of having your home taken away? You’re told to pack 50 pounds of necessities and get out. You’re herded into old army barracks with the rest of your townspeople, where you are relieved of all valuables (jewellery, bank books, money, house keys, and property titles). Region-wide, many thousands die. Your main goal is to protect your children and try to stay alive.
The lovely Julia has it all—a seemingly perfect life. The aftermath of WWII changes all that. Widowed and homeless, Julia and her two small children become refugees in their own land. After more than a year in a Czech internment camp, Julia and her family are moved to Sternberg just across the border in Germany.
This Baroque-style castle should have struck romantics chords, but for Julia living there as a refugee, the place had lost all its charm. Cold, dank, and austere it was a relatively safe haven, a stepping stone back to a normal life, but warm and cozy it was not.
How does Julia, a small town girl from the Sudeten area on the borders of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany, end up in a tiny town in Canada’s cold, severe north?
New language, new customs. Will she be happy here? Will she cope with the harsh life? What will she do about the man she loved more than twenty years earlier who has suddenly reappeared in her life?
Dawson Creek and nearby Tomslake have quite a number of Canadian citizens of Sudeten-German background. My portrayal of Julia as she faces her challenges is a story that could belong to any one of these people from Sudetenland.
Find Anneli Purchase at her website and her blogs: