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...
  • Rose (Traveling Sister)
    SPOILER: IT WAS AN ABSOLUTELY PERFECT BOOK!"Maggie begins to drift off, lulled by the rain battering the windows. In that place between sleep and alertness, the name comes back to her. She whispers it into the night. Elodie."Don't worry, there are no spoilers here. This book was the bee's flippin' knees. Although it was easily one of the saddest novels I've ever read, the feelings I had at the end were of lightness rather than darkness, which, ...
  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    THE HOME FOR UNWANTED GIRLS by JOANNA GOODMAN was such a moving, heart-wrenching, and riveting historical fiction novel that had quite the emotionally gripping story. This book literally crushed me and made me feeling so many different emotions while reading it. Some of the subject matter and historical facts that was focused on here in this novel was absolutely unconscionable and had me so angry. Being from Canada there were some events that I w...
  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    5 stars! I truly loved this novel!This story ripped my heart out. It made me angry, hopeful, frustrated. It had me rooting for these characters, holding my breath and crossing my fingers for a positive outcome. It exhausted me emotionally (in the best way possible). Simply stated – I adored this book!This novel revolves around Maggie Hughes who, at fifteen, becomes pregnant and is forced by her parents to give her baby daughter, Elodie, up. We ...
  • 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...
  • Jonetta
    Maggie Hughes is the 15-year old daughter of an English speaking Canadian father and a French mother living in Quebec. Despite her father’s admonishments to not cavort with French boys, Maggie’s young heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix, the young and impoverished boy living at the adjacent farm. When she ends up pregnant, her parents force her to give up her baby but before she’s taken away, Maggie implores them to name her Elodie. That f...
  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    Traveling Friends Group ReadWhen I saw that beautiful, intriguing and haunting cover I knew I had to read this one.  Just looking at the cover brought on some emotion.  Not really knowing what the story was about it did take me a while to finally read it, but I have to say that it worked out well because when I did read this one the timing was perfect.  We read this one in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Reading group.  This one made for a re...
  • 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...
  • K.A. Tucker
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is unique and the fact that it is based on true events of 1940s and 1950s Quebec makes it especially disturbing. While it’s not an easy read, it’s definitely worth picking up.
  • 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.
  • Libby
    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 ...
  • Adrea Pierce
    I don’t get it. This book had such a high rating so I expected so much more from it. I found it to be a monumental letdown. It starts with a young teenager (Maggie) who falls in love with someone (Gabriel) that her parents do not approve of. They send her away to stay with her aunt and uncle to get her away from him. She finds out she’s pregnant and eventually gives birth to Elodie who is stolen from Maggie and sent to an orphanage. I listene...
  • 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, ...
  • DeAnn
    This heartbreaking tale earns 5 stars from me. And I love that cover!This is a relationship- and character-driven novel that I really enjoyed. Set in Quebec, It was interesting to learn more about the animosity between the French and English speaking communities here. The book centers on Maggie, a teenager who enjoys working in her father's seed/gardening store and aspires to run the store someday. Maggie's father has made the choice for his chil...
  • Chris Mara
    I’m emotionally torn with this story:Young love between Gabriel and Maggie with the harsh disapproval by Maggie’s father of Gabriel. Maggie and her father have a very special family bond, which will soon be horribly broken. There is an underlying current of dissension between the English and the French Canadians (Quebec, Canada) and that those two tolerate each other but should not mingle. Ironically, Maggie’s English father married her Fre...
  • Bookworm
    This was a fantastic book! One of those stories that grabs a hold of you from the start and doesn't let go. The writing, the plot, the character development, everything is superb!The story focuses on Quebec orphanages that were converted into mental hospitals in the 1950's as a way for the government and church to make more money. At that time, orphanages, which were run by the church, were paid a small amount of money. Out of greed, the provinci...
  • Lesley
    I am sorry but this wasn't a great book. Way to melodramatic. The love story (lust story) of Maggie and Gabriel was terrible and never fully developed. It read like a cheesy romance novel. I would have liked more story about their child and less about them. I gave up half way through. Too many other books on my list that I would rather be reading to waste my time on this one.
  • Stephanie Anze
    3.5 stars rounded upMaggie is girl living in a rural area in Quebec. Maggie's father is English and her mother is French but still her father forbids her from seeing the French boy on the next farm, deeming him less than suitable for her. Maggie, however, does not head her father's warning and soon winds up pregnant. To protect her reputation, and that of her family, Maggie is forced to give her daughter up for adoption. Unfortunately, the laws c...
  • 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.
  • Lyn
    3.5 stars The reunion was way too short. I hope the author considers continuing the story.After reading this book, I looked up Duplessis Orphans. I didn't think it was possible, but I'm left even more disgusted by the catholic church.
  • Jennifer Blankfein
    The Home for Unwanted Girls is the compelling story of Maggie (based on the author’s mother) and her family set in 1950s Canada. At that time orphanages were being converted to hospitals for financial benefit. The Quebec government saved money changing the educational facilities to mental institutions, and the Roman Catholic Church received subsidies. Thousands of parentless children were falsely deemed mentally ill and many of the teaching nun...
  • Jen from Quebec :0)
    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)
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • William Koon
    I have now officially read a girly -romance novel. Silly me! I thought this was a serious work about orphans in Quebec in the 1950’s. Because the Church ran the orphanages, they changed the orphanages into asylums because they were paid a per diem of 100% more. The orphans were declared insane and treated as such for many years. Maggie at sixteen has an illegitimate child. Her parents force her to give up the child at its birth. The book see-sa...