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Publisher's 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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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nevada
  • Alexandria, VA, United States
  • 04-23-18

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!!!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth the credit...

Wonderful story, could not stop listening! Will definitely look for more books by this author.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Great Narration, Predictable Story

Well written. Well narrated. Well researched, I imagine. But it was just mediocre. At times I felt it dragged, especially in the beginning. Other times I felt too many years were skipped. I was disappointed that the author didn't allow Elodie to find the boy who went off to Vietnam (don't want to spoil anything). But then again, maybe she was fine not knowing...

All in all, the story wasn't bad---a nice story about forgiveness and redemption.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pleasant surprise

This book is based on a what really happened to orphans in Quebec
It was well written and I could not stop listening
Excellent book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, I couldn’t stop listening

It can be heart wrenching at times listening to the ways the girls were treated. a great story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • White Plains, NY, United States
  • 04-20-18

WOW

A very sad story, stayed up all night to finish it, well worth the credit, haven't been so engrossed in a good, we'll written novel in a long time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A.
  • Merritt Island, FL, United States
  • 04-19-18

Wonderful Story

Both heart warming and heart breaking. Oh what tangled webs we weave as we try to confirm to society's rules and to judge our fellow man.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Very Predictable

Girl meets boy, pregnancy, child given away, parent and child reunion.
Same old story, new names and places.




1 of 3 people found this review helpful