All the days of my life (Ark House, 2008) is a sequel to Jo-Anne Berthelsen first book, Heléna and continues the story of her life. The story begins in the aftermath of World War II with Heléna’s journey from a displaced person’s camp in Europe to a migrant camp in Australia. We are told this story is inspired by the real experiences of a post-war Czech immigrant to Australia and therefore provides historical insights into the plight of displaced persons.
While immigrants were generally relieved to leave behind the trauma of war and the upheaval of political systems, they encountered many difficulties in coming to Australia. The language barrier was huge as was the lack of recognition of their skills and abilities. Nevertheless through this story we see how many of them faced these trials with grace and faith in God. For Heléna in particular, it was not an easy path as she encountered more grief and loss in her new country.
It is not necessary to have read Heléna to enjoy this story as all you need to know about Heléna early years is woven into the story line. It is a moving story which provides many insights into handling grief and loss and stirs up feelings of gratitude for those of us who are blessed to live in Australia.