The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman (Review by Ali Cicerchi)

2 min read


Two daughters, from different families, struggle to find their place in the world around them– one, given away and a former ward of the state; the other, a daughter of a convicted separatist.

Elodie Phénix, is one of the Duplessis orphans seeking reparations from the state for the suffering endured when Quebec’s orphanages were converted to mental hospitals that affected five thousand children. Psychologically tortured, emotional neglected and physically abused.

Véronique Fortin, daughter of Léo Fortin convicted of kidnapping and murdering a public official, must discover her own political views amidst familial pressure to continue the radical ideas. This novel follows both women and their family members in 1992 in Quebec.

In Joanna Goodman’s novel, “The Forgotten Daughter,” the two women meet because of a common link. James Phénix, falls for Véronique despite being diametrically opposed to her political beliefs. His job as a journalist a constant trigger for them both. Elodie is James’ older sister born to his parents when they were teenagers, before they were every married. Elodie and Véronique lean on each other, providing each other with a safe place to find some clarity and perspective – as Elodie fights to have her traumas recognized and Véronique is deciding if she will follow her father’s footsteps.

I enjoyed “The Forgotten Daughter!” While it’s a bit heavy on some detail (the book taps out at 401 pages) the character are extremely well-written. One gets a feel for each character’s unique values and how they work to sort out their own cognitive dissonance trying to navigate the future while making peace with the past. This book has ample history woven throughout. I learned quite a bit about Canadian politics and the Quebecers (or Québécois) search for proper recognition and independence. Thrown in with the history, was French slang and swear words adding color and authenticity.

For many reasons, it’s a great read.

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