Friday, February 14, 2020

Review: The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham

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.

Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd, 2020
by Simon & Schuster

Many years ago I began a search of Canadian HF, I wanted to read more about this great country. Little did I know how hard it would be to find.  Then Genevieve Graham came out with Tides of Honour and I haven't looked back.  Her last 4 books have given me exactly what I was looking for - Canadian history with a wonderful story.

On March 3rd The Forgotten Home Child releases. Told from the POV of a younger and older Winny along with her friend Jack.  It's a heart-wrenching story that I couldn't turn away from, I needed to know the outcome. Home Child is more than a story of Dr. Barnardo's Home but friendship plays center stage, when family fails you your friends are there and that bond between this group was so nice to read. It was authentic and as with Graham's previous books, her passion for history shines through in her writing.

One of the things that hit close for me were the locales throughout this book. Places that have meaning for myself and others I've visited which always makes the story more relatable.

A Note to Readers at the end of the book was equally interesting to read, with pictures and historical facts I was captivated. The Forgotten Home Child is a part of our history that I never learned about in school (I wasn't sleeping in history class because others I've talked to about this book were in the dark also). Kinda makes me wonder what else I might be clueless about.

I have not read Graham's first books (a series, The MacDonnell's) but her last 5 books are ones that I highly recommend. 

My thanks to Simon & Schuster CA and the author for a print ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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