The Forgotten Home Child

By Genevieve Graham

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Recommend? yes!
Buy or borrow? buy!

“I wanted you to know that you weren’t alone all that time. There were so many others.”

Genevieve Graham – The Forgotten Home Child

Synopsis (Goodreads)


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. 


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Here’s the full quote from above:

“I wanted you to know that you weren’t alone all that time. There were so many others. And I wanted you to know that there are people living today who care about what happened, and who are paying tribute to what you all went through as well as they can. There’s even an official National British Home Child Day here in Canada, declared by the government. It’s on September twenty-eighth.”

Genevieve Graham – The Forgotten Home Child

Wow, this book was amazing. I felt like I was living alongside Winny, Jack, Mary, Edward, and Cecil throughout the entire story. The writing is beautiful, and the story is equally sad and hopeful. It’s become an instant favourite, I just flew through it!

There’s so much within these pages that I didn’t know about. I had no idea that British children were sent here to Canada (and other countries) between 1869-1948 or that majority of the time they were treated so poorly or that there’s an official day in recognition of these children???

I went on a deep dive (as much as I could, as there still isn’t much information out there) right after finishing and I’m so sad that this isn’t something we’re taught here! Approximately 12% of Canada’s population (if not more) are descendants of a Home Child, and a lot of the time they may be completely unaware!

This book took my heart, tore it into pieces, and then glued it back together. Definitely pick it up when you get the chance 💕


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