The Home for Unwanted Girls

The Home for Unwanted Girls

A Novel

Book - 2018
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"In 1950s Quebec, the 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, Gabriel Phénix. But Maggie's heart is captured by Gabriel. 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 an insecure 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. Withstanding abysmal treatment at the nuns' hands, Elodie finally earns 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. Over the years Maggie's and Elodie's lives have intertwined but never touched, but they are finally brought together when Maggie goes in search of her long-lost daughter, reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both."--Jacket flap.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062834089
Branch Call Number: FIC Goodm
Characteristics: 364 pages ; 24 cm

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q
Quietday
Jun 10, 2018

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.

r
Reads_A_Lot
Jun 04, 2018

Historical fiction centered around Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system during the 1950’s. This is a family drama following an unwed teenager from the 1950-1970’s as she tries to find the daughter she was forced to give up. It also follows her daughter and the terrible conditions she has to endure when the orphanage is converted to a psychiatric hospital. The Duplessis Orphans were approximately 20,000 orphaned children who were falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of the province of Quebec, Canada, and confined to psychiatric institutions. This came about because psychiatric hospitals received more funding than orphanages. The story also shows the divide between the French and the English in Quebec during this time period.

k
Kellie777
May 28, 2018

Really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down.

o
ownedbydoxies
May 25, 2018

This is a novel and the characters are imagined, however the actions in it and the historical facts, are based on real events and true happenings. It's the story of a young woman (15 in 1950), who lives in a small Quebec town, is pregnant and is forced by her family to give up her baby to the orphanage run by the Catholic church in order to save her reputation (and theirs). This is a very strong book, featuring the love (and animosity) of family, the mistakes in judgment we can make when we are scared and not brave enough to stand up for ourselves and do what a generous heart would insist upon. It's an indictment regarding the way some members of the Catholic church utilized their positions to wreak havoc and cruelty on the lives of those dependent on them, stories which we hear all too often still. The suffering so many orphans went through are no different from the horrifying abuses suffered by so many Aboriginal children in the residential school systems of the time. It's very difficult to process how members of the Church (nuns) and doctors at the time, could have perpetrated this type of emotional and physical abuse, somehow justifying it to themselves. An excellent book.

7
737knox
May 06, 2018

Fantastic book. Best I have read in a long time. Great writer. Hope she had more. 10 stars!!!

b
bibliomum
May 03, 2018

A tough story to read, so heart-wrenching and hopeful that I could not stop until I was finished. A must read!!

g
garnaats
Apr 29, 2018

5/2018 Costco connection

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