The House Children

In 1937, Mary Margaret Joyce is born in the Tuam Home for unwed mothers. At age five she is sentenced to an industrial school with one hundred other unwanted girls, where she is given the name Peg and assigned the number 27. Peg quickly learns the rigid routine of prayer, work, and silence under the watchful eye of Sister Constance. Her only respite is an annual summer holiday with the Hanleys, a kindly host family from Galway that has taken an interest in Peg.

At the tender age of thirteen, Peg accidentally learns that Norah Hanley is her birth mother. Once the truth is out, she struggles with feelings of anger and abandonment; meanwhile, Norah, though she loves Peg, also grapples with the shame of having borne a child out of wedlock. The tension between them mounts as Peg, now becoming a young adult, begins to make plans for her future beyond Ireland.

Based on actual events, The House Children is a compelling story of familial love, shameful secrets, and life inside Ireland’s infamous industrial schools.

Author: Heidi Daniele
Publication Date: April 9, 2019


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“Peg’s experience at the industrial school and her struggle to feel worthy in a country that looks down on illegitimate children will move even the hardest of hearts . . . The setting and mature voice of Peg make this a great crossover novel, with appeal for adults and teens alike, particularly fans of Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train and J. Courtney Sullivan’s novels.”
School Library Journal

About the Author

Heidi Daniele’s passion for history and genealogy opened the door for The House Children, which is her debut novel. She has a degree in Communications and Media Arts and has worked on several short independent films. She earned the Learning in Progress Award for Excellence at a Dutchess Community College Film Festival for coproducing, writing, filming, and editing the film Final Decisions. She also volunteers at The Lisa Libraries, an organization that donates new children’s books and small libraries to organizations that work with kids in poor and underserved areas. An empty nester who lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Heidi enjoys gardening, photography, and exploring her family tree.