What I’m Reading: The Home for Unwanted Girls

I’ve so been enjoying my Hoopla online library.  One day I sat down and took time to find books.  I have three weeks to keep the books so it’s okay if I pick out three books at once as I can’t finish three books in three weeks.  I don’t feel the rush to hurry-hurry like I did with the other online library I previously used all the time.  One of the books I picked this time around was The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman.

I am a sucker for any book that makes me think someone is going to overcome their sad circumstances and this book made me think just that….so did I like it?


I did like the book.  I didn’t realize the struggles in Quebec over the French and English nationalities.  I always wondered how a place could support two languages but now I see that it wasn’t always smooth sailing for them.  The story is very sad and at times I find it hard to relate to.  I don’t think, no matter the times, that I could have been able to give away a baby.  I completely understand that for some it is the right thing for them…for me, it would haunt me for forever.  It’s so sad that there was such a taboo around keeping a illegitimate child.  It’s so sad that “reputations” were so precious…

A lot of sadness surrounded this story.

Here is what Amazon had to say: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.”

Amazon readers give the book 4.6 stars.  I think I’d give it 4.3.  The story unfolds over a time period of about 35 years.  I often wanted to speed the story up…but well worth the read time.

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One thought on “What I’m Reading: The Home for Unwanted Girls

  1. Joanne

    That sounds like an interesting book. I loved Ginny Moon that you recommended recently. I put a hold on this one in audiobook format. There are only 67 people ahead of me!

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