I received this book for free from First To Read in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Published by Ballantine Books ISBN: 0425284689
on June 6th 2017
Genres: Women's Fiction
Source: First To Read
Buy on Amazon, Buy on IndieBound
Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation . . . or redemption.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.
This book was one that I read in one sitting. I really connected with the characters. The way that the past and the present were threaded throughout the book made the story come alive. I could just picture the setting and the characters as they were in the late thirties to early nineteen forties. This was also a tearjerker, all of the siblings ripped from their parents as their mother was recovering in the hospital. What they go through as they are waiting to be sold to a wealthy family is just beyond sad, this is based on the real life scandal of Georgia Tann who stole poor children from their homes and sold them to wealthy families. May aka Rill is a strong character who tries her very best to keep her siblings together but only succeeds with one. Avery is from the present day and is just uncovering her grandmothers secret that is long buried. I thought that the story was so well written and very respectful to the subject matter.
Avery seemed to do what is expected of her by her wealthy family most of her life. When she starts to unravel her grandmothers past Avery starts to come into her own. There is a bit of a romance but not too much to take away form the story. This story is one that has stayed with me since I put the book down. It was a very moving book. I look forward to reading more from this author.