Port of No Return

(1 customer review)

Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, however, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter—a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

“At the heart it is a tale of love, hope, and resilience in times of intense turmoil and extreme deprivation. A stirring historical novel of a family that learns to hope and live again.” 5 stars

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Book Details

Weight 277 g
Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

244 pages






Historical Fiction

Release date

31 July 2015




Odyssey Books

About The Author

Michelle Saftich

Michelle Saftich

Michelle Saftich resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the past twenty years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. In 1999, she was named National Winner for Best News Story in the ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards). Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent ten years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.

1 review for Port of No Return

  1. Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers’ Favorite

    Michelle Saftich’s historical fiction story, Port of No Return, follows the Saforo family’s struggle for survival in war-torn Europe between 1944-1950. In German-occupied Italy, Ettore Saforo is a mechanic employed to maintain German ships and submarines in Fiume, a strategic seaport. In 1944, an air raid destroys the Saforo family’s home. Ettore, his wife Contessa, their children Taddeo, Nardo, Marietta, and Martino, and Contessa’s mother Nonna find refuge at their friends’ farm. Ettore flees for his life as Fiume comes under the Yugoslavian occupation. The action, pace, and tension intensify. Contessa, Nonna and the children escape to the Allied Forces’ refugee camp in Trieste. In 1945, Ettore and his family are reunited at the Trieste camp. Is there a chance for them to start a new life in a safe country?

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Michelle Saftich’s Port of No Return because at the heart it is a tale of love, hope, and resilience in times of intense turmoil and extreme deprivation. I liked the interweaving of Ettore’s and Contessa’s lives with those of other families, of unexpected friendships and compassion in the harsh conditions of refugee camps. I loved the character development of the children, the way they cope with living in refugee camps. I loved the way Michelle Saftich brings out the children’s curiosity, their hopes, fears, and their protection of each other through terrifying and life-threatening experiences. I liked the interweaving of joy and sorrow, tears and laughter, even as the family sails from Genoa toward a new life. A stirring historical novel of a family that learns to hope and live again.

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