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Ratings and Book Reviews (10 18 star ratings
10 reviews
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4.9 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Historical Fiction at It's Best!

    Reading a Genevieve Graham book is like waking up in a warm bed on a cold morning….you just never want to leave! The Forgotten Home Child takes us on an unforgettable journey to 1930’s England, where poverty raged due to over-population and lack of work. To help alleviate the problem, children were sold and shipped to Canadian families. But what was supposed to be a better life, turned out to be anything but. These “home children” were just as unwelcome in Canada as they were in England. Some faced unimaginable abuse while working in harsh conditions on Canadian farms. Genevieve Graham has woven a story around a group of friends, Winny, Mary, Jack, Edward and Cecil, that will have you reaching for the tissue long after you read the last page. It’s a heartbreaking story that deserves to be told and the author did a phenomenal job of making the reader feel the confusion, injustice and pain of the home children as they grew-up in an unfair world. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST READ and has definitely set a very high standard for 2020 books!!
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    The Lost Children

    This is a story of the "British Home Children". Between the years of 1869 and 1948 100,000 to 130,000 destitute British children between the ages of 3 and 18 were taken from England's street, orphanages, and homes, and then shipped across the ocean to work in other countries. It was thought they would have a better life, but in reality there were no checks and balances in the system and many of them were in abusive homes and suffered from inadequate care, no education, beatings, sexual abuse and even death. These children were called the "Home Children". They did not feel wanted in Britain, and they did not feel welcome in their new countries. Many of the natives spat at them and said mean things to them. After they turned 18 they were turned away from finding work because of the depression and social conditions and because they were British. This story is fiction based on history and research by the author. The story is about several main characters from Britain Jack, his sister Mary, two brothers Edward and Cecil, and Winny with Jack and Winny being the two main characters. The story follows them from when they took the ship from Britain to Canada. Jack was seventeen and Winny was sixteen. The story begins with Winny now in her 80's telling the story to her granddaughter an d great grandson after her daughter finds a trunk with old clothes and photos in it from Winny's past. The story follow the children and some of their friends as they arrive in Canada, go to the farms they will work on, grow up and leave their service or die on the farms. The treatment they receive, the sheds and barns they were forced to live in and the beatings. The fortitude and courage of Winny and the guilty feelings of Jack as he leaves them behind. As they interact again later in years and how the past affected their present. secrets that were kept and finally released. Love and heartbreak and lives forever changed because of their immigration to Canada. Their dedication to each other and their love for each other. The ending of the story is bittersweet and very well done. I loved the book beginning and ending, although it was sad and tragic it told me about a section of history which needed to be told. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. Thanks to Genevieve Graham, Simon and Schuster Canada, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review an advanced copy of this book.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Fantastic Read!

    This fantastic read deserves more than 5 stars. This Historical Fiction book is based on the British Home Children who were children sent from England to Canada to clear out the orphanages and sold as indentured servants. In 1936, 15-year-old Winnie runs away from her mother's abusive boyfriend who lives with them and often beats all of them. She meets up with Mary and her brother Jack, brothers Edward and Cecil and together they live on the street and steal to survive. When they are caught, Winnie and Mary are put in Dr. Bernard's Barkingside Home for Girls and the boys are put in the home for boys. After 2 years, they all ship out to Canada at the same time supposedly to work for families and have a better life, but that is not what happens. The story then goes to present day when Winnie is a 97-year-old widow living with her granddaughter, Chrissie and her great-grandson, Jamie. One day, they ask her about the trunk from her childhood that she has brought with her and about her past which she has kept a secret for all these years. This is such a heartbreaking and moving read and I highly recommend that you keep some tissues nearby. The author, Genevieve Graham, did a very thorough job researching the history of the British Home Children. Thank you NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC of this very moving story. I highly recommend this book.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Disturbing subject, well written story

    Nov 28 is British Home Child Day in Canada. A day to mark the overwhelming tragedy most of the 100,000 - 130,000 children who arrived in Canada between 1869 and 1948 experienced. That Genevieve Graham has chosen to bring to light another hidden dark spot to the light is both heroic and unsettling. The fictionalized story of child Winny and her friends Mary, Jack, Edward and Cecil who survive on the streets of London England and end up in Ontario Canada. The ignorance and brutality of their Canadian hosts is shocking and a huge black mark in Canadian history most us us never knew about. A few like Charlotte found adoptive parents who loved an supported them and shared their finances with others. In 2017 descendants of the Home Child children achieved recognition of these children when a memorial mass grave was established in Park Lawn Cemetery in Etobicoke (a western Toronto suburb). We follow Winny's trials and triumphs until her passing at age 96. This book was often hard to read because of the subject matter.
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    Thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, and significan

    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.
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