Jump to Navigation

The Home for Unwanted Girls: The heart-wrenching, gripping story of a mother-daughter bond that could not be broken – inspired by true events (Paperback)

Staff Pick Logo
The Home for Unwanted Girls: The heart-wrenching, gripping story of a mother-daughter bond that could not be broken – inspired by true events Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Staff Reviews

Based on true events, The Home for Unwanted Girls takes place in 1950’s Quebec, where the English and the French barely tolerate each other.  When Maggie, the daughter of a proud English father and a submissive French mother, becomes pregnant by a poor French boy, she is forced to give up the baby, whom she names Elodie.  Elodie is placed in an orphanage and Maggie is expected to get her life back on track.

Under a new law, however, orphanages are transformed to psychiatric hospitals in order to get more federal money for the province.  The orphans, therefore, lose their education and become unpaid care takers for the mentally ill patients that move in.   They are mistreated and suffer constant abuse and neglect at the hands of the nuns who operate these institutions.  Maggie assumes Elodie had been adopted and is cared for while Elodie endures years of hardship and heartbreak.
Goodman’s novel is beautifully written, alternating between the experiences of Maggie and Elodie.  It is an honest look at a difficult and dark period in Canada’s history and an examination of how the choices we make reverberate through generations.  The Home for Unwanted Girls is an absorbing, thought-provoking, and emotional read that is sure to be a hit with fans of The Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours.  

— Libby Stowell


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 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.





About the Author

Joanna Goodman lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. Originally from Montreal, she based The Home for Unwanted Girls in part on the story of her mother. She is also the author of The Finishing School.

Praise For…

“A study of how love persists through the most trying of circumstances. Deep and meaningful, this novel captures the reader’s attention until they’re rewarded with a happy ending.”

Publishers Weekly

 “The ending hits a perfect emotional note: bittersweet and honest, comforting and regretful.”

Praise for The Finishing School: “Suspenseful…. If your guilty-pleasure reads include elite boarding schools, secret societies, murder, and scandal, this one’s for you.”

The Finishing School pulls back the curtain to expose a fascinating world of desire, betrayal, and dangerous secrets.”
— Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone

The Finishing School plunges the reader headfirst into a fast-paced, nail-biting mystery that also manages to explore friendship, love, adolescence, family and motherhood. By the time you reach the unexpected ending, you’ll practically be gasping for air.”
— Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Trouble with Lexie
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062684226
ISBN-10: 0062684221
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 17th, 2018
Pages: 384
Language: English

Recent Events

Main menu 2

by Dr. Radut