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Extended Audio Sample Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search, by Martin Sixsmith Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Martin Sixsmith Narrator: John Curles Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Soon to be a major motion picture starring Judi Dench: the heartbreaking true story of an Irishwoman and the secret she kept for fifty years

When she became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena Lee was sent to a convent to be looked after as a “fallen woman.” Then the nuns took her baby from her and sold him, like thousands of others, to America for adoption. Fifty years later, Philomena decided to find him.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Philomena’s son was trying to find her. Renamed Michael Hess, he had become a leading lawyer in the first Bush administration, and he struggled to hide secrets that would jeopardize his career in the Republican Party and endanger his quest to find his mother.

A gripping exposé told with novelistic intrigue, Philomena pulls back the curtain on the role of the Catholic Church in forced adoptions and on the love between a mother and son who endured a lifelong separation.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Heartbreaking…a story that needed to be told.” 

    Independent (London)

  • “The touching story of a mother’s fifty-year search for her son.” 

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “A searingly poignant account of forced adoption and its consequences.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Riveting…Sixsmith chillingly recounts…this mother-and-son saga.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In this moving story—the inspiration for the hugely popular film—narrator John Curless effortlessly moves between Ireland and the US many times as Philomena Lee seeks her son. Curless captures many accents and personalities as he compassionately recounts this sad but uplifting story about a baby being taken from his young, unwed mother in 1950s Ireland…The conclusion is matchless: a note from Dame Judi Dench who reveals how honored she felt to play this brave and remarkable woman in the movie.”


  • “Emotionally compelling.”

    Library Journal

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About the Author

Martin Sixsmith is the author of several fiction and nonfiction books and is a former BBC journalist and director of communications for the British government. He lives in London.