The Forgotten Home Child
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.
Who are the British Home Children?
Another gem from one of my favourite historical fiction authors! Graham reveals our past—both the shame and the hope of it—in the truest possible light. In doing so, she offers promise that the future can be changed by the telling of such important stories. This novel is heartbreaking yet romantic, distressing yet charming—and perfect for fans of Joanna Goodman and Jennifer Robson!
If there’s one thing that defines The Forgotten Home Child, it’s the essence of the past. In these pages, one family discovers the truth about their personal history and realizes that while our pasts are imperfect and multi-faceted, and can bind us or set us free, in the end, they inform our identity. Genevieve Graham captures the reader’s attention from the beginning in this exquisite journey to the heart of what makes us human.
Drawing on a dark, yet little-known chapter in Canada’s history, Graham paints a searing portrait of a childhood shattered by isolation and brutality. I was profoundly moved by this tale of courage, fortitude, and the heart’s ability to open again in the wake of great injustice. The Forgotten Home Child is a powerful and engrossing read, brimming on every page with both heartbreak and hope.