The Home For Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman ~Review~

The Home For Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman takes place in Canada during the 1950s. There is hostility between the English and French. Maggie’s parents are also both French and English and their home is filled with the same hostility and they don’t want the same relationship for their children. Maggie sides with her father, she loves working with him in his store where she counts seeds. She finds solace in the farm fields where she often sees her neighbor, Gabriel. A little crush quickly escalates and Maggie finds herself pregnant at fifteen. However, Gabriel is French and Maggie’s father forbids her to see him ever again. When Maggie gives birth, the baby is taken and given to an adoptive family. Only she wasn’t. The little girl, Elodie is sent to an orphanage that is run by Catholic nuns. But soon there is more money in asylums than in orphanages and Elodie and all the other children are declared mentally ill and sent to asylums. Maggie’s life continues on but she is determined to find her little girl even though the government and the Catholic church will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Rape, Child Loss, Pregnancy Loss, Torture, and Child Death

I am ashamed to say that I actually don’t know that much about Canadian history. I only know a little bit regarding the Indigenous peoples of Canada. This book reminded me of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Children are taken without the permission of the mothers and forbidden to find them and the children are tortured, killed, and moved around to where they will provide the most money or funding. This absolutely shattered my heart– from the treatment of the French to the awful treatment of children.

One thing about this novel is that it is impossible to put down! I read this book in one day. It is also a quick read. The author manages to keep a great pace while not losing the plot or characterization. I do love Maggie and Elodie. Their mother-daughter bond brought tears to my eyes. Elodie is fierce. She doesn’t get to actually live until her release and even then, she wasn’t prepared for life outside the asylum. It made me think about those who also serve long prison sentences then are expected to rejoin society and not have any transition struggles.

One thing I hated in this book. The men. I hated all of them. Maggie’s father is a TERRIBLE man, yet she defends him until the end. Gabriel is better but he does not fully grasp Maggie’s position as a woman and blames her for things that she has no control over.

I do recommend this book if you need a good cry. It is even more heartbreaking that this book is based on true events. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

2 thoughts on “The Home For Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman ~Review~

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