INSTANT INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
A beautiful tale of hope, courage, and sisterhood—inspired by the real House of Mercy and the girls confined there for daring to break the rules.
Growing up in New York City in the 1910s, Luella and Effie Tildon realize that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. But when the sisters discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen elder sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases. Her rebellion comes with consequences, and one morning Luella is mysteriously gone.
Effie suspects her father has sent Luella to the House of Mercy and hatches a plan to get herself committed to save her sister. But she made a miscalculation, and with no one to believe her story, Effie’s own escape seems impossible—unless she can trust an enigmatic girl named Mable. As their fates entwine, Mable and Effie must rely on their tenuous friendship to survive.
Home for Unwanted Girls meets The Dollhouse in this atmospheric, heartwarming story that explores not only the historical House of Mercy, but the lives—and secrets—of the girls who stayed there.
“Burdick has spun a cautionary tale of struggle and survival, love and family — and above all, the strength of the heart, no matter how broken.” — New York Times Book Review
“Burdick reveals the perils of being a woman in 1913 and exposes the truths of their varying social circles.” — Chicago Tribune
Burdick (Girl in the Afternoon) will break hearts with this exquisitely wrought, meticulously researched historical reflection on an American version of the infamous Magdalene laundries of Ireland. In the first years of the 20th century, free-spirited sisters Luella and Effie Tildon live in New York City, near the House of Mercy, a home for wayward girls that is anything but merciful. Effie can't conceive of a time when she and Luella won't be living happily ever after until Luella disappears, setting in motion a devastating series of events. Believing that her sister has been committed by their father to the House of Mercy, Effie hatches a plan to get committed and when she discovers she's wrong, she becomes a prisoner, largely dependent on another resident, Mable. Effie's parents, meanwhile, have no idea where she is, believe she's been kidnapped, and are moving heaven and earth to find her. Told from the alternating points of view of Effie; her mother, Jeanne; and Mable, the narrative combines lush prose with a quick and riveting plot. Readers will be intensely moved by this historical.
Worth the read!
It was not what I expected to read in the least, but I’m glad to have finished it anyways!
I am so moved by this story. Thank you.
I also had never heard of House of Mercy. I applaud Serena Burdick for her research and her obvious talent as a writer. I’m still wiping away tears. Such a wonderful, touching, heart-wrenching story. This author has shone a light on so many girls & women and their plight having found themselves in places such as House of Mercy. Thank you Serena Burdick.
Can I Blink yet?!!!
I could not stop reading this book. It is amazingly written, and never a dull moment. I feel windblown now that I have finished it!!! Like I’ve been through an emotional roller coaster ride!!! Ugh I wasn’t ready for it to end!!!! 10 stars!!!