The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

The Home for Unwanted Girls

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 inclu...

Details The Home for Unwanted Girls

TitleThe Home for Unwanted Girls
Release DateApr 17th, 2018
PublisherHarper Paperbacks
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Cultural, Canada

Reviews The Home for Unwanted Girls

  • Angela M
    3.5 stars rounded up.Joanna Goodman does not shy away from focusing on some controversial things that happened in Canada’s history in this moving novel. She presents the divide between English and French in Quebec in the 1950’s both from a family perspective as well as a societal one. “Much like the province in which she lives, where the French and English are perpetually vying for the upper hand, her family also has two very distinct sides...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 An emotional roller coaster of a journey, a young fifteen year old mother, Maggie forced to give up her newborn daughter. We follow Maggies journey, her life, and eventually her struggle to find and reunite with her daughter. Elodie, in an orphanage, finds harshness, but never outright cruelty, and even kindness from one of the sisters. This will change, when the orphanages are turned into mental institutions, and the unwanted children are no...
  • Anna
    Maggie Harper lives in a rural community in Quebec during the 1950s. Her father is English and her mother is French. Their marriage is complicated and not particularly happy. Her father runs a Seed Store, and Maggie dreams of one day running it herself. But when she falls in love with the poor French farm boy next door, her parents do not approve. When Maggie becomes pregnant at fifteen, she is forced to give the baby up for adoption. Her daughte...
  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
    This book is going to get people talking. Is it a riveting story about a horrible time in Canadian history? Yes. Does it deal with sensitive and emotional subject matter? Yes. Will it give readers a lot to talk about in their book clubs. Undoubtedly. The story is told in alternating points of view of Maggie and Elodie, as they each struggle within the confines that society has placed on them in the hope that they'll be reunited with each other on...
  • Eden Church | The Required Reading List
    Joanna Goodman has written a beautiful novel containing the entire range of emotions experienced by the human heart. The Home for Unwanted Girls tells the story of Quebec in the 1950s-1970s, but more specifically of Maggie, a young girl living in the Townships with an English-speaking father and French-speaking mother. At fifteen Maggie falls in love with the poor French boy from the next fair over. Under questionable circumstances, Maggie is for...
  • Suzanne
    3.5* Was not a bad story at all but I honestly did not warm up to any of the characters except Elodie. Most of the other characters were not very likable. The writing was great but the characters I could not warm up to. I had pretty good expectations for this book because my grandmother said she loved it. But unfortunately the characters let me down for the most part. My quick and simple overall: good story and worth a read.
  • Maureen Timerman
    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, ...
  • Libby Chester
    3.5 stars ‘The Home for Unwanted Girls’ by Joanna Goodman is based upon a tragic occurrence in Canada’s history. Duplessis orphans were sent to mental institutions as their reclassification would provide higher subsidies. They were called Duplessis orphans because this occurred when Maurice Duplessis was premier of Quebec. A Catholic, “he put the schools, orphanages, and hospitals in the hands of religious orders, noting he "trusted them ...
  • joyce g
    Choices made, good or bad. This story flew by.
  • Kristen Beverly
    The first part of this book is pretty tough to read- because of the content. An important story to be told, for sure. It’s just a tough one to finish and say “I loved it!”, again because of the content. Would be great for bookclubs though, as there is plenty to discuss.
  • Joelle Baugher
    Honestly I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to keep being immersed in Maggie’s life and felt like I was living it with her. Beautifully written.
  • Pat
    This is a very well-written novel, made all the more riveting since it is based on true events. It takes place in the Canadian province of Quebec in the mid-20th century where there is a long-standing rift between English and French residents. It is also a time when an unwed mother is shamed, as is her family and, most unforgivably, the child.Maggie Hughes, the oldest daughter of an educated English father and a French mother from an impoverished...
  • Shilpa
    Greed is the ugly underbelly which society cannot toss aside, and with the choice placed before them, the impoverished orphanages in Quebec see their opportunity for getting a slice of that pie. This of course comes at a cost. Young orphans who are already in these homes, find themselves placed in the crossfire. As the orphanages begin the transformation to psychiatric institutions, the existing "unwanted" children must go somewhere. There are he...
  • Jennifer Lynn Harrison
    Wow. This book gets ALLLLL THE STARS! I *will* be returning to this space to write the proper review this book deserves, just as soon as my emotions have calmed down a wee bit. --Jen from Quebec :0)
  • Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
    I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Trigger warning for rape It's 1950's in Quebec and Maggie is the daughter of the local seed store owner. The French and the English just barely tolerate each other, the tensions are high. Maggie's heart is captured by Gabriel Phenix, a poor french farmer from next door. When Maggie get's pregnant ...
  • Sandra
    What a tough, depressing, but oh-so-fantastic book.
  • Rissa
    Home for unwanted girls 5 thousand stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐But she is wanted. This was beautiful and gripping! There is so much that unfolds and it will pull at your heart! *****Spoilers****A bit of the way in (about 50 pages) is when everything starts to take off. Maggie grew up trying to please others and still out of trouble so she was no to be beaten. When she is with Her friend Gabriel she feels safe and loved. She is in love with Gabe and he ...
  • Betty
    During the 1950s in Quebec, teenagers Maggie Hughes and Gabriel Phénix fell in love. Their romance comes to an abrupt end when Maggie's parents find out their fifteen-year-old daughter is pregnant. When her daughter, Elodie, is born, Maggie is forced to give her up for adoption. A few years later, a new law results in orphanages being converted into mental hospitals because funding provided for patients is greater than what is provided for orpha...
  • Danielle
    This was an interesting story but it lacked an emotional connection for me. I felt like the whole thing was happening at a remover, rather than being immersed and invested in the story.
  • Lana Shupe
    Received this book from Harper Collins as an Advance Readers Copy. Another part of Canada's history, this time in the province of Quebec, that I did not know about. Shocking to learn about the change in orphanages to mental institutions - all for the sake of money. The orphans that lived through this change led heartbreaking existences. So much has changed in our outward dealing with institutionalization and yet so little has changed in percepti...
  • Shannon Dyer
    Sad but lovely. Review to come at AAR.
  • Kate
    Canada is an amazing country, but like any country we are not one without blemishes in our past. I was aware of some of these, but I had no idea about the atrocities that occurred in Quebec in the 1950s when orphanages were converted into mental institutions and children were told that they were mentally incompetent. Joanna Goodman does an amazing job of allowing readers to grow with her characters. She seamlessly transitions her characters throu...
  • Donna Lewis
    Very interesting book. A lot of drama, about love and loss, anger and redemption, all against a backdrop of a terrible history of the 1950s conversion of orphanages to mental institutions in Canada. Of course there are duplicitous nuns, reminiscent of the nuns in Ireland who took babies from unwed mothers and sold them to Americans. It is sad to read another example of terrible people committing terrible acts in the name of religion for commercia...
  • Lynn Gionette
    this book was terrific. Sad, I cried reading this. its based on the truth. I really love the authors writing.
  • Cat
    Too sad a story. Doesn't say much for the older generations and their intolerance, religion, society , etc... does it? They messed up so many innocent lives. Just gummed up their whole family- and over what?- a simple, sweet baby! So stupid and hurtful.
  • Stacie Allen Gosiene
    I loved this book. I cried a few times.
  • Colleen
    Maggie is a 15-year old girl growing up in small-town Quebec in the early 1950’s. Her father is Anglo, her mother is French; she tends to fall under her dad’s influence more so than her mother’s, at least until she is swept off her feet by Gabriel, the off-limits French boy next door. When she finds herself pregnant, her parents avoid town gossip by forcing her to stay at her aunt’s house; they tell her it’s for her best interests when ...
  • Allison Anderson Armstrong
    3.5 rounded down - I loved and hated this book. It is a sad, beautiful, sweet, depressing story of a unlikely family that probably shouldn't have been a family. It felt very "real-life" and the situations sounded common enough - unhappy families, infidelity, immoral relationships, corrupt government, and deep abiding depression. The author has a winsome, not-overdone way of writing that is artful, creative, and easy to read. No "objectionable" el...
  • Kayla Parshall
    In a book inspired by real events, Joanna Goodman explores the 1950’s Quebec orphanage system through this heart wrenching story. Maggie Hughes is only fifteen when she becomes pregnant and her parents force her to give her baby up for adoption and get her life back on track. The Home for Unwanted Girls follows Maggie and her daughter Elodie as they navigate through life always wondering about one another. Elodie is raised in the impoverished o...
  • Marg
    My first 5* of the year! Forced to give up her newborn baby and her first love Gabriel, 16 year-old Maggie is heartbroken and struggles throughout her life to come to terms with the decisions that her family made for her. She eventually marries and attempts to start a new family but tragedy strikes again when she has three miscarriages. Years later she is reunited with Gabriel and together they attempt to find out what happened to Elodie, their f...