Joanna Goodman is a Canadian author. Her novel The Home for Unwanted Girls stayed on The Globe & Mail Fiction bestseller list for over six months. Her work has appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Ottawa Citizen, B & A Fiction, Event, The New Quarterly, and White Wall Review. Originally from Montreal, Joanna resides in Toronto with her family.

Joanna Goodman made her debut as a novelist in 1998 with Belle of the Bayou. Below is a list of Joanna Goodman’s books in order of when they were first published:

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Belle of the Bayou (1998)Description / Buy at
You Made Me Love You (2005)Description / Buy at
Harmony (2007)Description / Buy at
The Finishing School (2017)Description / Buy at
The Home for Unwanted Girls (2018)Description / Buy at
The Forgotten Daughter (2020)Description / Buy at
The Inheritance (2024)Description / Buy at

If You Like Joanna Goodman Books, You’ll Love…

Joanna Goodman Synopses: Belle of the Bayou by Joanna Goodman follows the comedic journey of Arabella Slominski Boot as she embarks on a quest for liberation from her stifling marriage and unsatisfying life. Fueled by a newfound feminism and a desire for spiritual fulfillment, Arabella leaves behind her husband, Roman Boot, and sets out with her son to live with her aging mother in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Along the way, Arabella finds herself entangled in a whirlwind romance with Joe ‘Hooty’ Birmingham, an aging jazz musician who lives for the moment. Despite their differences in lifestyle and priorities, Arabella is drawn to Hooty’s carefree attitude and zest for life, even as she grapples with her own need for security and stability.

As Arabella navigates the challenges of single motherhood, aging parents, and a demanding job, she also discovers the power of voodoo as a means of seeking revenge on her ex-husband. However, Arabella soon realizes that newfound power comes with its own set of complications and responsibilities.

You Made Me Love You is a standalone novel by Joanna Goodman. The Zarr sisters have embarked on separate journeys to pursue their dreams and discover their true selves. Estelle has always aimed to “Make it in Hollywood,” but despite reaching Tinseltown, she struggles to gain recognition as a film editor. Meanwhile, Erica is in New York, pursuing her passion for writing fiction but feeling out of place in literary circles. In Toronto, Jessie’s seemingly perfect life, defined by her marriage to a doctor and motherhood, begins to unravel.

As each sister grapples with the challenges and uncertainties of their chosen paths, their mother also reflects on her own life choices, questioning whether prioritizing marriage over her showbiz career was the right decision.

Through their individual struggles and triumphs, the Zarr sisters explore themes of ambition, identity, and the pursuit of happiness. As they navigate the ups and downs of their respective journeys, they come to realize that fulfillment and self-discovery often lie in unexpected places, and that true happiness comes from following one’s heart.

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman delves into the intricacies of family, identity, and the lasting impact of decisions made in the face of adversity. Set against the backdrop of 1950s Quebec, the novel follows the intertwined lives of Maggie Hughes, Gabriel Phénix, and their daughter Elodie, exploring the repercussions of societal expectations and the pursuit of personal fulfillment.

Maggie, torn between her English-speaking father’s aspirations and her love for Gabriel, finds herself at a crossroads when she becomes pregnant at a young age. Forced to relinquish her daughter Elodie to adoption, Maggie’s life takes a divergent path as she struggles to reconcile her past with her present circumstances.

Meanwhile, Elodie grows up in the harsh environment of Quebec’s orphanage system, enduring hardship and discrimination as she navigates a world that seeks to label her as mentally ill. Despite the challenges she faces, Elodie remains resilient, determined to carve out a life for herself beyond the confines of the orphanage walls.

As Maggie and Elodie’s stories unfold in parallel, their paths eventually converge as Maggie embarks on a journey to reunite with her long-lost daughter. Along the way, they confront the painful truths of their shared past and grapple with the complexities of forgiveness, redemption, and the enduring bonds of family.

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