The Home For Unwanted Girls: The Heart-wrenching, Gripping Story Of A Mother-daughter Bond That Could Not Be Broken – Insp by Joanna GoodmanThe Home For Unwanted Girls: The Heart-wrenching, Gripping Story Of A Mother-daughter Bond That Could Not Be Broken – Insp by Joanna Goodman

The Home For Unwanted Girls: The Heart-wrenching, Gripping Story Of A Mother-daughter Bond That…

byJoanna Goodman

Paperback | April 17, 2018

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Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. 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, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.





Joanna Goodman is a Canadian author, born in 1969 in Montreal. Her stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, The Ottawa Citizen, B&A Fiction, Event, The New Quarterly, and White Wall Review. Excerpts of her writing have been published in, A Room at the Heart of Things, a fiction anthology by Elisabeth Harvor. She is the author of ...
Title:The Home For Unwanted Girls: The Heart-wrenching, Gripping Story Of A Mother-daughter Bond That…Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.96 inPublished:April 17, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062684221

ISBN - 13:9780062684226

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it in 3 days! Loved this book! it kept me interested the whole time! Couldn't put it down and passed it along to my sister who read it in a day!
Date published: 2018-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read!! I bought this book this summer and I finished it in two days! I could not put it down! After I finished it some of my other family members read it as well and they loved it. My family is French Canadian from Québec so this hit close to home. Definitely need a box of Kleenex. Great read!
Date published: 2018-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossible to put down As the title suggests, this book was impossible to put down. It's also indescribably sad. I think I cried reading at least the last half of the book. Come prepared with kleenex, a pot of tea, and a warm blanket, friends, because you won't be leaving your reading nook for a while.
Date published: 2018-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a great book This book was amazing and very hard to put down. Definitely a heartbreaking book, have a couple of Kleenex with you while you read. Very well written. I would recommend this book.
Date published: 2018-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book!!!! This book was amazing. Very heartbreaking and one that I could not easily put down. Very well written. Definitely would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read....just have a couple of Kelenx with you, while you read it.
Date published: 2018-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It Wonderful book I finished it in just a few days! I couldn't put it down from start to finish. Such a touching story. It left me shocked many times, I had no idea about this part of history in Quebec, its just so surprising that this took place not that long ago.
Date published: 2018-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a great read! So good. It was heartbreaking, heart-warming and just plain awesome.
Date published: 2018-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I love books with real history woven in. What a heartbreaking situation for those orphans. I went and googled it to learn more. Great characters that you could really understand their personalities and decisions.
Date published: 2018-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Book! I loved this book! I never really knew anything about this part of Canadian history and was very interested after to learn more. I highly recommend this book! Such a great read. #plumreviews
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic and Beautifully Written! This novel is a look at a dark piece of Canadian history through the story of two young women: it's emotional, powerful and unbelievable in it's realism. The choices the characters make, the impact of the times and the journey the characters take along the way - you can't help but fall in love with the leading ladies and root for them. I read this book in one night because I needed to know how it ended. #plumreviews
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! What a great historical fiction. It's also an education experience looking at this dark chapter in the history of Quebec. It's as much a history lesson as it is a work of fiction. Beautiful characters.
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read! Took a little bit to get into it but once I was a few chapters in could not put it down!
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love, love love this book!! Fantastic, emotional, well written story. I sped through reading this because I couldn't get enough of it! Totally had me entranced :)
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I couldn't put it down!! I bought this book after seeing it many times at the cash register and having read a bit of the synopsis. When I finally got it, I couldn't put it down. Its beautifully written and I love the mix of both French and English (bilingual reader here) - she really captures the tension between Francaphones and Anglaphones. The story line is just beautiful - such a wonderful ending to a life of pain that both the of the characters go through.
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very emotional read....LOVED it. This book is fiction but based on fact, and in doing so really makes the heart pound and the mind anger. I wanted to research the facts myself after reading it. My heart went out to Elodie, the poor wee girl who grew up in such a wretched government supported orphanage/hospital of terror; and yet my heart ached for Maggie who was forced to give her up as a 15 year old unwed girl. Really, all of the characters deserved empathy, except the horrid nun. The ending was unexpected for both the characters and the reader. I will likely read the Finishing School by the same author.
Date published: 2018-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Literature for all Don't be fooled by the title or the cover - this novel is not 'chick-lit.' Ms Goodman has taken twenty years to create a story that should be on every "ten best books of the year" list. Based on her own family upbringing and her research into the Duplessis Government's abhorrent treatment of Quebec's orphans in the fifties, her novel reads more like fact than fiction. The characters are portrayed with all their flaws and nobility, and most make a legitimate claim on the reader's empathy. The glaring exception would be Sister Ignatia, whose cruelty defies explanation or forgiveness. It has been quite some time since a novel has packed such a punch as to leave me totally winded. This is such a sad and unsettling read but at the same time redemptive on so many levels. Like Charles Dickens, Goodman has mastered the art of creating memorable characters. Elody, like Little Nell in Dickens "The Old Curiosity Shop," will claim a piece of your heart forever. Male or female, be sure to read this classic masterpiece.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED I'm halfway thru this book, heartbreaking! i can't wait to see how it ends! I see another late night in my future. Wonderful wonderful book.
Date published: 2018-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It!!! I read this book in 1 day, Well written. First time reading a book from this author and I will definitely be reading her other book. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent From start to finish, the author writes a sorrowful story with such elegance. A great amount of research went into writing this, and it definitely payed off. Amazing read!
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard to put down The story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic First time reading anything by this author and I was not disappointed
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I started this book and couldn't put it down....there were parts that were heart-wrenching and times when I was outraged but I wanted to read more...I wanted a happy ending for these girls.....An excellent book!
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful story A story that sheds light on a sad period of history
Date published: 2018-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Such a beautiful story of love and the lengths a montrer will go to find her family. A great look back and the French/English history of Québec.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Finished in a day and a half An excellent read to gain a deeper understanding of a part of Canadian history. The text not only humanizes the orphanage scandal in Quebec but also touches on other contextual history like the anglophone-French tension, the views on female sexuality, pride and religion.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Great book. I found the storyline to be unique and made me wanting to keep reading more. Being a Canadian interested in women's rights, psychiatric healthcare, and politics, also made it to be an even more interesting read as those non-fiction topics are woven into the fictional story!
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A haunting story "The Home for the Unwanted Girls" is based on a disturbing period of Quebec's history, when children born out of wedlock were abandoned to the care of nuns who raised them in very poor conditions. Maggie Hughes, a 16 year old Anglo Quebecer, became pregnant by her French-Canadian boyfriend Gabriel and was forced to give her baby up after it was born. Years later Maggie and Gabriel reunite and marry and never stop looking for their daughter. They eventually find their daughter, but the story of what happened to Maggie and her daughter Elodie haunts the reader. An excellent read about a very troubling time in Canadian history.
Date published: 2018-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved this book! I had high expectations because I loved Joanna’s previous book, The Finishing School (that was also one of the first books I reviewed on my blog!). The narrative switches between Maggie’s and Elodie’s perspectives. At first, I preferred Elodie’s story, because her experience at the orphanage was so new to me. But then I got hooked on Maggie’s story. This story was heartbreaking, but it is an important story that needed to be told. I didn’t know about these orphanages that turned into psychiatric hospitals in Quebec. The story also had twists that I didn’t see coming, with some romance along the way. I highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I read the last ten chapters in one sitting because I just could not put this book down. The characters feel so real and I love that it is based on true events. Such an amazing historical Canadian novel that'll break your heart. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great Canadian novel. This is a well-written novel based on actual events that happened in Canada. A heart-wrenching account of the fate of orphans declared mentally retarded because the Catholic Church learned it could get more money for mental institutions than orphanages.
Date published: 2018-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! I just could not put this book down!! Read it in a day and a bit!
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad story but fabulous book! Such a sad but intriguing story. Highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! Such a beautiful book to read! Such a great read looking forward to reading more from this author.
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I randomly picked this book up and started to read it on the drive home. I made my hubby drive the 2 hours because I refused to put it down! I couldn't believe the audacity of the government's decisions for those poor children! I also couldn't read it fast enough to find out the ending! I immediately ordered The Finishng school.
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! I saw this book on a must-read list about 3-4 months ago, and for some reason, I knew I had to read this book. This book is so well-written, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so beautifully written This novel is so well written and unfortunately inspired by true events. The character development is wonderful; the characters are fully human and flawed. It is a novel about restoration and the quiet advocacy that is often revealed "after the fact" or after someone passes away. It is about courage, the courage to move forward, the courage to stand by those we love. It is about the re-uniting of family written tenderly without being sappy. It is about courage; about not giving up on a conviction.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book!! This book was recommended by the cashier and I am so glad she did!! This book kept me interested from cover to cover!! Well written!
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It brought tears to my eyes This is such a beautifully written book. I highly recommend.
Date published: 2018-06-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really well done. 4.25 stars. I REALLY enjoyed this story; so many layers of lives and cultural dynamics. I haven't been affected like this by a story in some time. So many unfortunate sorrows and yet, nobody was ill-willed, just products of their time. The author did a spectacular job of tying up loose ends. Lots of tears in the final pages and fair bit of ire for the actions of the Catholic church who willingly caused so much pain.
Date published: 2018-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible. Awe-inspiring. PHENOMENAL. Words cannot describe how utterly beautiful and well written this book is. It's truly phenomenal. And for someone who was born and raised in Montreal, this book shook me to the core of my very being. I'll never be able to look at the city the same way again. One of the best books I've ever read, truly phenomenal.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Very well written. I enjoyed every bit. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT I LOVED this book. It was very well written and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it!!
Date published: 2018-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written I changed gears from my usual thriller theme when I picked the one up (after all the buzz it was creating) and I'm so glad that I did.  Great Canadian fiction at its finest, written by [now] one of my new favourite authors, Joanna Goodman.  So much so, I have picked up her first novel, The Finishing School, and cannot wait to dive into that one too. There aren't words to describe the excellence behind this book and how well it was written. This book was absolutely phenomenal, plain and simple.  A beautifully written page-turner about the power of a mother's love for her child, set during one of the more darker periods in Canadian history. The story is fictional but is based on factual events, shining light on a very disturbing time in Quebec’s history, when thousands of orphaned children were deemed mentally deficient and locked away in psychiatric hospitals during a politically damning time. What made this book even more  powerful for me was the fact that it was partially based on events of the author's mother's life.   This book pulled at my heart strings throughout and had me so filled with emotion right from the page 1.  To think these events occurred to so many innocent children (and so close to home) is shocking and heartbreaking. The story follows a mother and daughter, separated at birth, throughout the span of their lives during which they are separated.  Each searching for the other, unknowingly, yet trying to live the best life they each can live.  I won't say any more as I think  readers need to experience this story for themselves (and I'd hate to take away from the incredible experience I had reading this book on my own without the influence of reviews). If you are a fan of historical fiction (and are Canadian) please pick up this book.  You will not regret it.
Date published: 2018-05-12
Date published: 2018-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good and evil are not always seen The hardships in life seem unendurable sometimes but in this story Mother and Daughter struggle to find each other and repair a broken relationship. It is also a story of evil people who shroud themselves in God's clothing but are abusive, greedy, and selfish.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heart-wrenching This story will absolutely break your heart. The utter sadness that things like this could happen is beyond comprehension. Keep the tissues handy for this one.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Read This is truly one you will not be able to put down. A mothers heartbreak told with such beauty and grace...a MUST READ!
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad This story takes place in rural Canada, near Montreal, and during a different period, the 1950’s. We are shown a family where there isn’t really a lot of love shown, the parents don’t seem to like one another, he is English and she is French, and like the Province they are like oil and water. A young couple get caught up and the result is an unwanted pregnancy, and at that time it was an embarrassment, and the child was put up for adoption, or so they thought. The author shows us a blight on history, the story is historical in nature as this horrible event really did happen. Oh, so very sad, and when you realize it is true it makes it even worse, and we put faces to this tragedy, and the reason this happened? Greed! Heartbreaking page turner, and then the lies, yes, you will wish harm to the people who claim to be people of the church, they are wolves in sheep clothing for sure. Be careful this one will rip you heart, and have the tissues handy. I received this book through Library Thing and the Publisher Harper Paperbacks, and was not required to give a positive review.
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Page Turner Joanna Goodman has written a beautiful novel containing the entire range of emotions experienced by the human heart. This book is the story of Maggie and Elodie, but also the chilling story of so many Quebec children who were abused at the hands of nuns and priests when they had no one to advocate for them. Goodman handles this heartbreaking topic with grace and skill. The heartbreaking exists alongside the heartwarming here, and rather than seek to "solve" this dark moment in Canadian history or gloss over it, Goodman unpacks it and sits with it, looking for hope amidst the ruins. The result is beautiful and at times breathtaking. This is the story of a girl, of love, and of family. If you are a Canadian reader trying to read more Canadian books; this one is for you. If you want to learn more about one of the darker periods about Canadian history, but still leave the novel feeling hopeful; this one is for you. If you are a fan of historical fiction, sweeping family epics, or a beautifully written page turner that will rip your heart in two and then melt it back together; this one is for you. The heart wrenching beauty of this novel is not one that is easily done justice in a review: I suggest you go see for yourself. *My thanks to Harper Collins Canada for an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review* #indigoemployee
Date published: 2018-02-04

Editorial Reviews

The Finishing School plunges the reader headfirst into a fast-paced, nail-biting mystery that also manages to explore friendship, love, adolescence, family and motherhood. By the time you reach the unexpected ending, you’ll practically be gasping for air.”