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The Home for Unwanted Girls

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

Philomena meets The 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 15, 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 17, 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.

©2018 Joanna Goodman (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Profile Image for Nevada
  • Nevada
  • 23-04-18

Is this a true story?

I absolutely love this book it is intriguing, dynamic and fascinating. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat. This is not my go to genre. I normally read urban fiction, love stories and memoirs. My favorite part is the two girls eating at the restaurant. It is so dramatic and I can feel the excitement. What I like about the book (this won’t make sense unless you read the book but…) is the following of the mother and daughter separately but during the same time. I also like that it doesn’t appear to be a work of fiction. I was enthralled and anticipating every new turn. I also can relate to a mother’s love of a child not in her care. I will say no more as not to spoil the book for others. I will end with this, I have never wanted to get to the end of a book so bad and wanting it to never end at the same time.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Claudia D. Nichol
  • 01-05-18

Sad story

Difficult to hear but unable to stop listening to the story. I have read many stories about orphans and adoptions and some of my first cousins were adopted. They are our family and we wouldn't be a complete family without them.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jason E Burgher
  • 26-04-18

Best book I have read this year!!!!!!!!

I am in tears, this book was so great, and sad....... dont want to give anything away. READ IT PLEASE!!!!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Camille
  • 12-12-18

Simply Fabulous

This story was invigorating, tear-jerking, and a definite "ear" turner! I didn't want it to end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth B.
  • 22-01-20

loved loved loved!

absolutely loved book, I could not wait to find out what happens next. it is a very heart felt and touching story.

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  • Lissa Heise
  • 14-01-20

Good telling of the growing up years.

It helps to understand how young girls feel. The pains of coming of age. Good perspective.

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  • Jayme Chapman
  • 25-11-19

such a heartbreaking story - great performance

this is definitely one that I would recommend. had brought tears to my eyes through a few parts of the novel but it was performed magnificently parts that I wish they would have expanded on a little was the ending. I don't want to give any sing away

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  • Janet
  • 13-11-19

loved the book and the narrator .

Didn't want to stop listening. The narrator was a pleasure to listen to. What a powerful picture of the church's strength and the harm done in the name of Jesus.

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  • tressab
  • 12-11-19

a must lusten

Such a sad but wonderful story captivating and

Beautiful. 10 out of 10 recommend this

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  • Laureen
  • 27-10-19

Good history lesson that ends with hope

I liked how this story brought to life a sad period in history that needs to be recognized. The love story between Gabrielle and Maddie is a bit unrealistic and tedious, but the overall story is one of hope. A good listen.