Author: Genevieve Graham
Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada on Mar. 3, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
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.
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…
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.
Thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, and significant!
The Forgotten Home Child is a powerful, impactful tale that sweeps you away to the mid-1930s and into the lives of the British children who through the Dr. Barnardo’s homes were sent from England to Canada with the promise of a better life, which in reality was more likely to include forced labour, abuse, starvation, and violence.
The prose is immersive and heartfelt. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and determined. And the plot is an authentic, pensive tale of friendship, heartbreak, loss, love, hardship, self-discovery, hope, courage, and survival.
Overall, The Forgotten Home Child is a beautiful blend of historical facts, alluring fiction, and palpable emotion that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you never want it to end. It is a nostalgic, fascinating, affecting tale that highlights an important aspect of Canadian history that is unfortunately often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada & Genevieve Graham for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.