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The Home for Unwanted Girls

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (611 ratings)

Regular price: $30.79

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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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!!!!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Simply Fabulous

This story was invigorating, tear-jerking, and a definite "ear" turner! I didn't want it to end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ouch. Heartbreaking.

I know I'm suposed to feel better at the end...but I'm heart broken. Such a reminder of how laws and regulations effect real people and real lives. This story must have happened over and over in history.

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Excellent!

A touching story of hope and resilience. I listened to it almost from beginning to end continuously. One of my favorite narrators and beautifully written. ❤️

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Elody

At first I struggled to read. Glad I continued. Great story of Old Quebec. Truth

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Beautiful, moving and powerful

Though occasionally the editing of the audio was noticeably choppy, the narrator herself presents many excellent voices for the characters and brings them to life.

Based on horrific true historical events, this story brought me to tears more than once. The characters are relatable, and face problems that reflect the power of the human and female spirit. Some problems and observations of the characters are still relevant issues for women even many years later. It was a powerful read.

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  • BK
  • 03-23-19

Excellent listen

Sad, but true. The things that we do to each other?????, even our own children.

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Wonderful!!

My wife and I absoutely love the story. The narration was spot on! Ten Star