The Home for Unwanted Girls

The Home for Unwanted Girls

A Novel

Book - 2018
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In 1950s Quebec, when Maggie Hughes becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption. Elodie is raised in Quebec's impoverished orphanage system. A tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter.
Publisher: New York, New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780062684226
9780062834089
Characteristics: 364 pages ;,24 cm.

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LibraryLES
Oct 19, 2018

This was a good one and enjoyed the flow of the story and the characters. Yes, the story is somewhat predictable, but you find yourself being hopeful for each of the characters anyway.

l
lhumps
Oct 18, 2018

Great book about adoption in the 1950's in Canada.

j
Jenkskitten
Oct 06, 2018

A great story that should be read by everyone. It tells of the treatment of girls placed in the care of government homes, how many endured their fates. Great read.

f
fangger
Sep 20, 2018

A really good read. Hard to believe what was done to the children in the orphanages and that they were treated that way here in Canada.

SPL_Sonya Sep 10, 2018

Please see the Summary section for a full review of this book.

j
JMR207
Aug 16, 2018

Excellent book about a part of Canadian history that I had never heard about before. Heartbreaking story of a young girl forced to give up her baby at birth, her lifelong yearning to be reunited and the horrific treatment of orphans in Quebec. Highly recommended.

melwyk Aug 15, 2018

Really great historical novel - full of drama, family secrets and strong characters. It highlights a terrible part of Quebec history that many people are unaware of. Great book club choice as there is a ton of discussable content here.

b
BeckyR21
Aug 12, 2018

Heart-wrenching. This is a gripping read of a terrible and depressing time of Quebec history. What Maggie and Elodie endure is almost unbelievable that this book is based on true events in not so recent Canadian history. Well-written and evenly paced, you will not be able to put this book down. Highly recommend.

s
singidunum_25
Jun 30, 2018

Amazing read based on true events....I have learned something new from Canadian history, something that we can not be proud with, but should have been aware of....Learn more about this shameful moment and Duplessis Orphans, before reading this book:
https://www.freedommag.org/english/canada/reports/page01.htm
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duplessis_Orphans

d
dchbrown
Jun 26, 2018

Definitely a page-turner...couldn't put it down. A sad, heart-wrenching part of Canadian history but an important story to know. A great story woven into this history - well-written!

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SPL_Sonya Sep 10, 2018

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman is both a heart-wrenching and heart warming novel of  historical fiction set in Montreal and the Eastern Townships of Quebec spanning almost 30 years beginning in 1948.  It is the story of Maggie, the daughter of an educated Anglo-Canadian father and a French Canadian mother from a poor family.  Their marriage is precarious and a reflection of the relationships among the French and English residents in their small town southeast of Montreal who simply tolerate each other.  At the age of 15 Maggie falls in love with Gabriel, a handsome 16 year old French Canadian farm boy with blond hair and grey eyes.  Maggie's father disapproves of their relationship as he has a better future in mind for her. He sends her away to live with her aunt and uncle.  When Maggie gives birth to a daughter the baby is sent to an orphanage.  Maggie names her daughter Elodie which is a type of hardy lily.  Elodie will need the resilience that her name bestows to survive the neglect and abuse of the church run orphanages turned mental institutions, a plan by the provincial government under Premier Maurice Duplessis to receive more federal funding. Ten years after Elodie is born, Maggie and Gabriel reconnect and start a new life together, one which includes the search for their daughter.  The end of the novel is one of hope and forgiveness but also of determination to reveal the injustices suffered by thousands of children at the hands of the Catholic Church and the Government of Quebec at the time.

Goodman writes a beautifully descriptive, moving novel with well developed characters.  The novel flows chronologically in third person narrative with chapters alternating between Maggie and Elodie.   Readers of historical fiction and family sagas should find this novel especially appealing.

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