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The Forgotten Home Child

Written by: Genevieve Graham
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's 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 97 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.

©2020 Genevieve Graham (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about The Forgotten Home Child

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Cheesy and predictable

this book has a lot of interesting information in it about the british home children in canada. the story could have been so much more. It was so cheesy. and the narrators were very irritating. I struggled to get through it.

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Canadian history lesson

This should be required reading for history class or social studies. It's a great example of what life was like for the average Home Child in Canada. 100,000 child immigrants that historians have never heard of or choose to forget. Great story, great heritage.

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Heartbreaking story

So many of us in Canada have descended from or are related to descendants of British home children. The story drives home the horrible conditions newcomers to Canada faced in the past. It was well written and I will read others from this author.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-04-13

Great Story

What an amazingly informative story based on true real life history. I never lost interest the whole time. The writer also did not leave any questions unanswered at the end yeah! I hate it when they leave you hanging. The narrator was amazing as well. She never made me think about her being different voices at all. Some times it is so hard to get through a book because the narrator is so bad or dramatic about having to be the voice of so many characters. This narrator made the whole story flow. P.S. You will cry.......

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 2020-07-29

a moving story about a true bit of history

This book took a hold of my heart and wrenched all of the sorrow out of it. I found myself attached to his characters and I now miss them. As an American I knew nothing about "home children" - if that is you too, I highly recommend a quick read of the wikipedia article to fill in your knowledge of this true story. It brought to mind the stories from my childhood that came from the grandma of kids I knew -- a woman who was a tiny girl sent west on the orphan trains here in the US. In 1936 a young girl named Winny has run away from an abusive stepfather and is living on the streets of Liverpool, where she meets siblings Jack and Mary. They are force to steal food to live and one day they are caught. The two girls are sent to an orphanage for girls and Jack is sent elsewhere. Soon Winny learns that she is being sent to Canada to work. Mary and Jack go as well, but they are separated. Winny's home life in Canada is harsh and difficult but she maintains hope that she will eventually be free to rejoin her friends. Unfortunately things are much worse for Mary, and they lose track of Jack. In 2018 Winnifred (Winny) is now ninety-seven years old and is telling the story of her life to her grandson. She shares her shame over her status as a home child and tells the story about her reunion with Jack -- who would become her husband. This part of the story is lovely and sweet because her grandson is able to learn so much from her and also help her know more about all the other children brought to Canada. She found herself realizing that there was no need to feel shame. He helped her resolve the emotional burdens by talking to him, and he was able to love and respect her even more for her resilience. This is a story of love, survival and pliancy, family, found family, and hope. I am certain to reread this one someday.

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  • Donna
  • 2020-07-24

Loved it!

a very poignant story. well written and researched. I could not stop listening until it was done.

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  • Dorothy
  • 2020-06-14

Must-read book for Canadians

Painful and heartbreaking... I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't listening to Roots. As a Canadian, I naively believed that these sorts of horror-stories only happened in other countries. It's unbelievable that this happened here, and even more unbelievable that most Canadians have never heard of it. Of course, this is historical fiction, but as the author explains at the end of the novel, all of the characters and incidents are based on true stories collected from the descendants of home-school children. A national tragedy... and a riveting story. I couldn't stop listening.

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  • Marie B.
  • 2020-06-06

Gripping and heartbreaking.

This story was well written with meaningful character development. I was hooked at the first chapter.

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  • Jason E Burgher
  • 2020-06-01

very good book

loved thia book so much, the writing and narration were amazing!!!! probably going to read this one again.

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  • Carrie A. Turansky
  • 2020-05-31

History Comes Alive

This is historical fiction at its best, bringing the British Home Child emigration scheme to the forefront. Heart-tugging, realistic, and well written.