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