Joanna Goodman





 Praise for 

The Finishing School: 

“This book is addictive because of the mystery it explores...but what’s also notable is the deftness with which Goodman presents the complicated, passionate nature of friendships during formative years, as well as the fascinating and formidable depths people will go to in order to get what they want.” 

The Globe and Mail 

Goodman’s fourth novel craftily “depicts a mystery hidden for decades under the veil of boarding-school tradition and secret societies. Through the lens of Kersti’s research, Goodman unravels a web of lies intertwining the well-developed characters that cross Kersti’s path.” 



HarperCollins US 2018 

Presses de la Cité France 2018 

Saint-Jean Quebec 2018






The Home For Unwanted Girls 

 Philomena meets Orphan Train 

In this triumphant love story, the lives of two young people are beset by conflicts of class and culture in 1950’s Quebec. 

Maggie is the daughter of Wellington Hughes, the “Anglo” who runs a seed business selling mostly to the French-Canadian farmers in the Eastern townships near Montreal. Her mother Hortense is a French- Canadian who refuses to speak English, but who shares her husband’s ambitions that her children should prosper in the higher status Anglo world. 

Gabriel Phénix, the boy from the next farm, poor and orphaned, captures Maggie’s heart. When Maggie becomes pregnant at 15, either because of a rape or her love affair with Gabriel, she suffers the full tyranny inflicted by the regime and the Catholic Church. 

Her baby is taken from her and either sold by the nuns to an American family, or worse, placed in an institution and declared mentally impaired. The government paid more money for wards of hospitals than orphanages. (Based on shockingly true situations in Quebec in the 1950’s, the theft of her child is similar in the experience of Ireland’s Philomena Lee.) We follow Maggie’s desperate quest to find her daughter Elodie, and Elodie’s painful loss of the family she deserves. 

Joanna Goodman, whose grandfather was a seed man, draws on the conflicting allegiances of her own Quebecois family for this tale that is specific to its place and times and universal in its themes. The daughter of a French-Canadian mother and the wife of a French-Canadian man, Joanna is bi-lingual and multi-cultural. Occasionally, she wishes she were firmly rooted in only one identity. 


Joanna Goodman is the author of four acclaimed novels including the best-selling novel, The Finishing School (HarperCollins). She lives in Toronto with her two children and her husband where they operate upscale retail linen shops Au Lit.