A Divided Heart: A Memoir of Loss and Love
Family history. An account of Greek immigration. “May all who read A Divided Heart be reminded, as I was, of events small and large, which have ultimately contributed to shaping the fabric of our lives.” – from the Foreword, Athina Vlahos. In this heartfelt memoir, Sophia Nicolis Tsouvalas takes the reader on a journey through her parents’ lives. Maria and Manoli endured the hardships and tragedy of war-torn Greece during the German occupation and subsequent civil war. Sophia captures their experiences of moving from Mesohoria, a village on the Greek island of Evia, with the Aegean as its backdrop, to a new life in Australia. Their journey takes us through the harsh realities of everyday life in their small village, to the early 1960’s when the family settle in Sydney, a city on the cusp of societal change. Maria was able to release the pain of her past, and Australia was embraced with open arms and gratitude. For Manoli, leaving Greece was a huge wrench and his yearning for his birthplace never waned. A Divided Heart is a chronicle of life, recognising the relationships that define us. It allows each of us to examine our heritage, our identity and where we feel we belong. Intertwined within the narrative of turmoil, longing, loss and ultimately love, are themes of history, traditions, food and culture which will resonate with many. This is a poignant story of the importance of family and wanting to leave a legacy for future generations.
About the Author
Sophia was born in the small village of Mesohoria, in the south of the island of Evia. In 1962, at the age of four, she migrated with her parents and sister from Greece to Australia. She grew up in Sydney but has lived in Adelaide for thirty-five years with her husband, Con. She has two sons and two adorable grandchildren.
Due to the vagaries of life, she has only travelled to her homeland three times over the years, yet it is a place embedded in her heart and soul, and where she feels a complete sense of belonging.
Sophia has a Bachelor of Arts from UNSW and a Diploma of Education from Sydney University. A passionate teacher of languages, she has taught Greek, French, German and English to school students and adults for over forty years.
She has been an avid reader all her life and enjoys walking, aquarobics, volunteering at the Greek Evian House in Adelaide, cooking (especially traditional Greek recipes) and looking after her grandchildren