One memorable book for the club was The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. Our members gave this ‘disturbing, dark’ book a rating of 4.0 Stars; many found they couldn’t put it down. This novel tells the story of the Duplessis Orphans–20,000 Canadian children who were wrongly certified as mentally ill by the provincial government of Quebec and confined to psychiatric institutions in the 1940s and 50s. Parallels to today’s revelations about the residential school survivors echoed throughout the novel. Some members found the book difficult emotionally, particularly those raised in the Catholic church.
Another favourite was Erik Larson’s book The Splendid & the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz. Despite the hundreds of books that have been written about Churchill and his role in the Second World War, this book still brought fresh insights. It focused on stories and journal excerpts from those closest to Churchill: wife Clementine, children Mary & Randall, his private secretary John Colville, etc., and showed the human side of the Blitz. Our members said the book was ‘written like a thriller…readable…drew you in’ and gave it 4.7 Stars, one of our highest ratings.