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Publisher's Summary

Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of the Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city's Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are "fallen" women - unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is 16-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.

Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments - but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure - and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.

Told with candor, compassion, and vivid historical detail, The Magdalen Girls is a masterfully written novel of life within the era's notorious institutions - and an inspiring story of friendship, hope, and unyielding courage.

©2016 V.S. Alexander (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

can't stop won't stop

if there was a free second I was listening. the story was very interesting and the character development made me even more interested.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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good read

loved how the book started and then it took darker turns than I was expecting. this wasnt the ending I was expecting but still a great read.

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Captivating

Great story about love, life, tragedy and injustice. Excellent and hard to believe these laundries existed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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not that long ago this was the norm.

I really enjoyed this book! the girls struggles, the hopelessness. the way out gave them hope.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fiction Based on Fact

Although this book is fiction, it is based on the events that actually happened. It recounts degradation girls and young women were forced to endure. Once again the Catholic church rears its ugly head. For many years the Catholic church in Ireland forced young woman to submit to torture and slavery in the name of God. This did not happen in the dark ages, but in the 20th century.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Maddening

Any additional comments?

Great historical fiction that makes one feel maddening frustration due to the way Ireland and the Catholic Church (one and the same in the 1960's) treated any girl whose parent(s) either were too selfish to care for her any more or wanted to punish her, or just didn't know how to handle her. For all intents and purposes, these (mostly) teenage girls were put in a prison workhouse for the rest of their lives without a trial, for anything from getting pregnant to smoking to getting attention from men or boys, even if that attention was unwanted and unsolicited. No parole was ever given unless a concerned family member came to take you away, which was rare. The only other hope of leaving was escape, which would be difficult and even if you did manage to get out, the Church was actively looking for you. The uniform and shaved head were dead giveaways that you were a Magdalen girl, aka a bad girl, making it difficult to hide or assimilate.

This story is similar to the movie "The Magdalen Sisters" but did have some differences in the characters but this had a more dramatic plot, which I won't give away here.

Thank God things have changed.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Boring. Couldn't finish it

I thought the story was slow moving and couldn't even finish the book. I tried really hard to push through to the end but the thought of having to listen to 2 more hours did me in and I had to stop.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Poor character development, weak, predictable story line

One of the most boring, predictable stories I've heard in a long time. I love historical fiction but this was really awful. Without killing the plot for anyone desperate enough to struggle through this one, here's the one constant: if you think something is going to happen, it happens. Guess something is about to go on? It does.

The whole thing was just a simpering mess. The weak character development kept protagonist and antagonist alike from evoking even a ripple of "meh...who cares?" from me.

Save your $ or audible points on this one, really.

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Loved this book.

Great read. Very vivid detail and great story. I would love a movie of this book. The history is very disturbing and interesting.

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What a awesome listen.

The Magdalen Girls brings you back to the 1960's in Ireland and shows you that not everything was better in the "good old days." This chilling and heart warming story had me up all nigh. VS Alexander's writing is phenomenal and so is Alana Kerr Collins' narration. I will be looking for more work from both of these talented people.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful