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 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 Girls with No Names

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The Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick Summary

The Girls with No Names pulls readers into the gilded age of New York City in the 1910s, when suffragettes marched in the street, unions fought for better work conditions—and girls were confined to the House of Mercy for daring to break the rules. Not far from Luella and Effie Tildon’s large family mansion in Inwood looms the House of Mercy, a work house for wayward girls. The sisters grow up under its shadow with the understanding that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. But when the sisters accidentally discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen older sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases. But her rebellion comes with consequences, and one morning Luella is mysteriously gone. Effie suspects her father has made good on his threat to send Luella to the House of Mercy and hatches a plan to get herself committed to save her sister. But she made a miscalculation, and with no one to believe her story, Effie’s escape from the House of Mercy seems impossible—unless she can trust an enigmatic girl named Mable. As their fates entwine, Mable and Effie must rely on each other and their tenuous friendship to survive. Home for Unwanted Girls meets The Dollhouse in this atmospheric, heartwarming story that explores not only the historical House of Mercy, but the lives—and secrets—of the girls who stayed there.

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 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 Runaway Children

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The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor Summary

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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.

The Night Child

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The Night Child by Anna Quinn Summary

This breathtaking debut novel examines the impact of traumatic childhood experiences and the fragile line between past and present. Exquisitely nuanced and profoundly intimate, The Night Child is a story of resilience, hope, and the capacity of the mind, body, and spirit to save itself despite all odds. Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl's face appears above the students' desks-"a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora's body-the kind of raw terror you feel when there's no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire-when you think you might die." Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. Shaken and unsteady, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered-a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown. "The Night Child is a powerful, beautifully written, transformative novel that struck a rare chord with me. When I recall Nora's journey, I am affected viscerally, as if I were reliving her painful memories alongside her. 'Must-read' is not a phrase I use often; I am using it now: you must read this book!"-Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain "Anna Quinn writes with bright and assured authority, making this a remarkable debut novel you won't soon forget. Her haunting story, expertly and lovingly crafted, leaves you breathless with both terror and hope."-Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author "I loved this book so much...I entered Quinn's book and lost myself and exited her book changed. She is hanging with the big dogs with this work...like Jodi Picoult and Ann Patchett."-Lidia Yuknavitch, bestselling author of The Book of Joan "The Night Child is an exhilarating debut: Quinn immediately pulls the reader in and doesn't let go until the final scene. She commands each page and expertly dives into the inner working of a broken mind. This fast-paced, riveting novel of coping with the past while trying to salvage life in the present is hard to put down." -Booklist

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.

Unwanted

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Unwanted by Mary E. Sandford Summary

Debbie Spencer is a lot like most twelve year olds. She loves her friends, loves to laugh, and she's not afraid to pray. Debbie is an average seventh grader . . . except she lives at an orphanage . . . even though she's not an orphan. Convinced her family is damaged beyond repair, Debbie longs for a new one. And she's going to find one. When a fire breaks out at Our Lady of the Angels parochial school in Chicago on December 1, 1958, almost one hundred children die tragically. Debbie's roommate, Noreen, loses several friends in the deadly fire, and Debbie must put aside her own desires to help her friend. Debbie learns how to protect others, stand up for what's right, and even figures out how to befriend bullies. Inspired by true events, Unwanted proves while things aren't always what they seem, forgiveness is always the best choice.

Chinese Cinderella

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Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah Summary

Jung-ling's family considers her bad luck because her mother died giving birth to her. They discriminate against her and make her feel unwanted yet she yearns and continuously strives for her parents' love. Her stepmother is vindictive and cruel and her father dismissive. Jung-ling grows up to be an academic child, with a natural ability for writing. Only her aunt and grandfather offer her any love and kindness. The story is of survival in the light of the mental and physical cruelty of her stepmother and the disloyalty of her siblings. Jung-ling blossoms in spite of everything and the story ends as her father agrees to let her study in England. A Puffin Modern Classic edition of this bestselling autobiography, celebrating ten years of publication.

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 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?

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?

The Dream Daughter

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The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain Summary

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The Cry

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The Cry by Helen FitzGerald Summary

When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world. Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?

The Marriage Bureau

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The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson Summary

In the spring of 1939, with the Second World War looming, two determined twenty-four-year-olds, Heather Jenner and Mary Oliver, decided to open a marriage bureau. They found a tiny office on London’s Bond Street and set about the delicate business of matchmaking. Drawing on the bureau’s extensive archives, Penrose Halson—who many years later found herself the proprietor of the bureau—tells their story, and those of their clients. We meet a remarkable cross-section of British society in the 1940s: gents with a “merry twinkle,” potential fifth-columnists, nervous spinsters, isolated farmers seeking “a nice quiet affekshunate girl” and girls looking “exactly” like Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh, all desperately longing to find The One. And thanks to Heather and Mary, they almost always did just that. A riveting glimpse of life and love during and after the war, The Marriage Bureau is a heart-warming, touching and thoroughly absorbing account of a world gone by. The Marriage Bureau is in development for TV with Carnival Film and Television Ltd, who produced Downton Abbey.

Where the Air Is Sweet

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Where the Air Is Sweet by Tasneem Jamal Summary

This novel follows three generations of an Indian family in Uganda, from 1920 until 1972 when dictator Idi Amin expells all 80,000 South Asians from the country.