The Home for Unwanted Girls

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The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman Summary

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.

The Finishing School

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The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman Summary

In this suspenseful, provocative novel of friendship, secrets, and deceit, a successful writer returns to her elite Swiss boarding school to get to the bottom of a tragic accident that took place while she was a student twenty years earlier. How far would you go to uncover the truth? One spring night in 1998 the beautiful Cressida Strauss plunges from a fourth-floor balcony at the Lycée Internationale Suisse with catastrophic consequences. Loath to draw negative publicity to the school, a bastion of European wealth and glamour, officials quickly dismiss the incident as an accident, but questions remain: Was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? It was no secret that she had a selfish streak and had earned as many enemies as allies in her tenure at the school. For her best friend, scholarship student Kersti Kuusk, the lingering questions surrounding Cressida's fall continue to nag long after she leaves the Lycée. Kersti marries and becomes a bestselling writer, but never stops wondering about Cressida's obsession with the Helvetian Society—a secret club banned years before their arrival at the school—and a pair of its members who were expelled. When Kersti is invited as a guest to the Lycée's 100th Anniversary, she begins probing the cover-up, unearthing a frightening underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. And in one portentous moment, Kersti makes a decision that will connect her to Cressida forever and raise the stakes dangerously high in her own desire to solve the mystery and redeem her past. An unputdownable read as clever as it is compelling, The Finishing School offers a riveting glimpse into a privileged, rarefied world in which nothing is as it appears.

The Quintland Sisters

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The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood Summary

"A historical novel that will enthrall you... I was utterly captivated..." — Joanna Goodman, author of The Home for Unwanted Girls AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER For fans of Sold on a Monday or The Home for Unwanted Girls, Shelley Wood's novel tells the story of the Dionne Quintuplets, the world's first identical quintuplets to survive birth, told from the perspective of a midwife in training who helps bring them into the world. Reluctant midwife Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the harrowing birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in hardscrabble Northern Ontario in 1934. Emma cares for them through their perilous first days and when the government decides to remove the babies from their francophone parents, making them wards of the British king, Emma signs on as their nurse. Over 6,000 daily visitors come to ogle the identical “Quints” playing in their custom-built playground; at the height of the Great Depression, the tourism and advertising dollars pour in. While the rest of the world delights in their sameness, Emma sees each girl as unique: Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Marie, and Émilie. With her quirky eye for detail, Emma records every strange twist of events in her private journals. As the fight over custody and revenues turns increasingly explosive, Emma is torn between the fishbowl sanctuary of Quintland and the wider world, now teetering on the brink of war. Steeped in research, The Quintland Sisters is a novel of love, heartache, resilience, and enduring sisterhood—a fictional, coming-of-age story bound up in one of the strangest true tales of the past century.

The Clay Girl

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The Clay Girl by Tucker, Heather Summary

A stunning and lyrical debut novel Vincent Appleton smiles at his daughters, raises a gun, and blows off his head. For the Appleton sisters, life had unravelled many times before. This time it explodes. Eight-year-old Hariet, known to all as Ari, is dispatched to Cape Breton and her Aunt Mary, who is purported to eat little girls. But Mary and her partner, Nia, offer an unexpected refuge to Ari and her steadfast companion, Jasper, an imaginary seahorse. Yet the respite does not last, and Ari is torn from her aunts and forced back to her twisted mother and fractured sisters. Her new stepfather, Len, and his family offer hope, but as Ari grows to adore them, sheÍs severed violently from them too, when her mother moves in with the brutal Dick Irwin. Through the sexual revolution and drug culture of the 1960s, Ari struggles with her fatherÍs legacy and her motherÍs addictions, testing limits with substances that numb and men who show her kindness. Ari spins through a chaotic decade of loss and love, the devilish and divine, with wit, tenacity, and the astonishing balance unique to seahorses. The Clay Girl is a beautiful tour de force about a child sculpted by kindness, cruelty, and the extraordinary power of imagination, and her families „ the one sheÍs born in to and the one she creates.

The Forgotten Home Child

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The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham Summary

The Home for Unwanted Girls meets Orphan Train in this unforgettable novel about a young girl caught in a scheme to rid England’s streets of destitute children, and the lengths she will go to find her way home—based on the true story of the British Home Children. 2018 At ninety-seven years old, Winnifred Ellis knows she doesn’t have much time left, and it is almost a relief to realize that once she is gone, the truth about her shameful past will die with her. But when her great-grandson Jamie, the spitting image of her dear late husband, asks about his family tree, Winnifred can’t lie any longer, even if it means breaking a promise she made so long ago... 1936 Fifteen-year-old Winny has never known a real home. After running away from an abusive stepfather, she falls in with Mary, Jack, and their ragtag group of friends roaming the streets of Liverpool. When the children are caught stealing food, Winny and Mary are left in Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Home for Girls, a local home for orphans and forgotten children found in the city’s slums. At Barkingside, Winny learns she will soon join other boys and girls in a faraway place called Canada, where families and better lives await them. But Winny’s hopes are dashed when she is separated from her friends and sent to live with a family that has no use for another daughter. Instead, they have paid for an indentured servant to work on their farm. Faced with this harsh new reality, Winny clings to the belief that she will someday find her friends again. Inspired by true events, The Forgotten Home Child is a moving and heartbreaking novel about place, belonging, and family—the one we make for ourselves and its enduring power to draw us home.

The House Children

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The House Children by Heidi Daniele Summary

In 1937, Mary Margaret Joyce is born in the Tuam Home for unwed mothers. After spending her early years in an uncaring foster home, she is sentenced by a judge to an industrial school, where she is given the name Peg, and assigned the number 27. Amid one hundred other unwanted girls, Peg quickly learns the rigid routine of prayer, work, and silence under the watchful eye of Sister Constance. Her only respite is an annual summer holiday with a kind family in Galway. At the tender age of thirteen, Peg accidentally learns the identity of her birthmother. Peg struggles with feelings of anger and abandonment, while her mother grapples with the shame of having borne a child out of wedlock. The tension between them mounts as Peg, now becoming a young adult, begins to make plans for her future beyond Ireland. Based on actual events, The House Children is a compelling story of familial love, shameful secrets, and life inside Ireland’s infamous industrial schools.

Lives of the Saints

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Lives of the Saints by Nino Ricci Summary

When young Vittorio Innocente’s mother, Cristina, is bitten by a snake in the family stable, no one sees the blue-eyed stranger leaving except for Vittorio. He struggles to keep his mother’s secret but secrets in a small village are hard to keep, and while Cristina’s belly gradually grows under her loose dresses, they find themselves shunned by their superstitious neighbours. A classic of Canadian literature, Lives of the Saints has earned many distinctions since it was originally published in 1990. It was a national bestseller for seventy-five weeks, received the Governor Generals Literary Award for Fiction, the W.H. Smith / Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the F.G. Bressani Prize. In England it won the Betty Trask Award and Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, in the U.S. was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and in France was an Oeil de la letter Selection of the National Libraries Association. It was also adapted into a miniseries starring Sophia Loren.

Bachelor Girl

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Bachelor Girl by Kim Van Alkemade Summary

NOW AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER “Bachelor Girl plunges the reader deep into life during the Jazz Age…and the revealing of other secrets and confessions will keep readers up all night looking for answers.” —Booklist (starred review) From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel in the vein of Lilac Girls and The Alice Network about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant. When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity. New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other. Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.

The Girls Who Went Away

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The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler Summary

Describes how countless single women were compelled to give up their children for adoption in the years prior to Roe v. Wade, and how their situations were compromised by limited birth control options and the unavailability of safe abortions.

You Made Me Love You

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You Made Me Love You by Joanna Goodman Summary

Having pursued their individual dreams and aspirations, the three Zarr sisters--Hollywood film editor Estelle, New York writer Erica, and Jessie, married to a doctor with two children--have somehow become somewhat disenchanted with their lives and set out to rediscover the meaning of love and happiness. Original. 35,000 first printing.

Before We Were Yours

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Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate Summary

THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT--A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a "thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal."* Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty. Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption. Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. *Library Journal Publishers Weekly's #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017 * Winner of the Southern Book Prize * If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection "A [story] of a family lost and found . . . a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets."--People "Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you'll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann's legacy."--Parade

The Unwanteds

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The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann Summary

In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.

The Color of Our Sky

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The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi Summary

In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night. India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world—one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood. But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta's abduction. Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place. Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, redemption.

The House Girl

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The House Girl by Tara Conklin Summary

A stunning New York Times bestselling novel that intertwines the stories of an escaped slave in 1852 Virginia and an ambitious young lawyer in contemporary New York and asks: is it ever too late to right a wrong? Lynnhurst, Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run away from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: finding the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves. It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy rocking the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s—if Lina can locate one—would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit. While following the runaway house girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: how did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Midwives

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Midwives by Chris Bohjalian Summary

A contemporary classic that has sold more than two million copies and was a selection of Oprah's original Book Club, Midwives is a compulsively readable novel that explores questions of human responsibility that are as fundamental to our society now as they were when the book was first published twenty years ago. On an icy winter night in an isolated house in rural Vermont, a seasoned midwife named Sibyl Danforth takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency cesarean section on a mother she believes has died of stroke. But what if—as Sibyl's assistant later charges—the patient wasn't already dead? The ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt, forcing Sibyl to face the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience. Exploring the complex and emotional decisions surrounding childbirth, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.

Unwanted Girl

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Unwanted Girl by MK Schiller Summary

When a man loves a woman Recovering addict Nick Dorsey finds solace in his regimented life. That is until he meets Shyla Metha. Something about the shy Indian beauty who delivers take-out to his Greenwich Village loft inspires the reclusive writer. And when Shyla reveals her desire to write a book of her own, he agrees to help her. The tale of a young Indian girl growing up against a landscape of brutal choices isn’t Nick’s usual territory, but something about the story, and the beautiful storyteller, draws him in deep. Shyla is drawn to Nick, but she never imagines falling for him. Like Nick, Shyla hails from a village, too...a rural village in India. They have nothing in common, yet he makes her feel alive for the first time in her life. She is not ready for their journey to end, but the plans she’s made cannot be broken...not even by him. Can they find a way to rewrite the next chapter?

Gone to Pot

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Gone to Pot by Jennifer Craig Summary

After losing her job and learning she might also lose her house because of a bad investment, Jess, a fiercely independent and hilariously wry BC grandma, resorts to growing pot in her basement to make ends meet. She then has to juggle her public life as a grandmother and member of the town’s senior women’s group – The Company of Crones – with her secret life as a pot grower. The unusual characters she meets along the way include Swan, the enigmatic young woman who introduces her to the grower’s world, and Marcus, the socially awkward “gardener” who shows her the tricks of the trade. Both of her new young friends are more than they appear, and Jess’ adventures in pot growing break down barriers in both her old and new circles. The delightful outcome of an almost legitimate business leaves Jess and her associates flushed with success.

True Love Dates

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True Love Dates by Debra K. Fileta Summary

In True Love Dates, Debra Fileta encourages singles not to “kiss dating goodbye” but instead to experience a season of dating as a way to find real love. Through reading powerful, real-life stories (including the author’s personal journey) and gaining insights from Fileta’s experience as a professional counselor, readers will discover that it ispossible to find true love through dating. Christians are looking for answers to finding true love. They are disillusioned with the church that has provided little practical application in the area of love and relationships. They’ve been bombarded by Christian books that shun dating, idolize courting, fixate on spirituality, and in the end offer little real relationship help. True Love Dates provides honest help for dating by guiding readers into vital relationship essentials for finding true love. Debra is a young, professional Christian counselor, and True Love Dates offer sound advice grounded in Christian spirituality. It delivers insight, direction, and counsel when it comes to entering the world of dating and learning to do it right the first time around. Drawing on the stories and struggles of hundreds of young men and women who have pursued finding true love, Fileta helps readers bypass unnecessary pain while focusing on the things that really matter in the world of dating.