From the first time I read a book by Ms. Wingate, she captivated me with her stories and writing. I was very excited to read this book and it far surpassed my expectations. I am intrigued my fictional novels that are based on true stories. The facts are true but how they are made play out in the characters’ stories lies in the hands of the author. Through Lisa Wingate’s talent and writing skill, these individuals were literally brought to life, so much so I had to keep reminding myself they were fictional! Until this novel I had never heard of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society spearheaded by Georgia Tann. From the 1920’s through 1950’s, hundreds of children were kidnapped by abduction or trickery from loving and caring parents. Until they were adopted by wealthy or famous people, for a hefty fee, they suffered unimaginable physical abuse, sexual assault, neglect, and with some even death. In 1939 a young girl, Rill, and her siblings lived happily in poverty on a house boat with their parents. While her father and mother were at the hospital welcoming another child they were snatched away and taken to one of Ms. Tann’s “homes”. That was when the nightmare began. As if the heartbreak of being separated from their parents was not enough, Rill also felt the pain of trying to protect her younger siblings and keep them together in an environment of cruelty and violence. My heart broke at the horrors these children encountered. I never imagined! The chapters alternate from Rill’s narrative to Avery Stafford in the present day. Avery is 30, wealthy, privileged and the member of a prestigious political family, totally opposite to Rill’s experience. When Avery attends a nursing home tour a resident appears to recognize her. She returns to visit her. In a sepia photo in May Crandall’s room she sees a family. One of the children strongly resembles her grandmother. She cannot get it out of her mind and begins to relentlessly seek out answers about her Grandma Judy’s past. Could May be a part of that past? Due to dementia claiming her grandmother’s once sharp mind she cannot ask her questions. It’s all up to Avery. What secrets will she unearth? How will they change her and her family’s lives? I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough! An incredible book with an amazing story! Thank you, Lisa Wingate, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. The opinions I have stated are my own.
About This Item
Look for Lisa Wingate’s powerful new historical novel, The Book of Lost Friends, available now!
“Poignant, engrossing.”—People • “Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power.”—Paula McLain
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 the dark truth. 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 to 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—Lisa 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.
Publishers Weekly’s #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017 • Winner of the Southern Book Prize • If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection
Random House Publishing Group
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|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
9.53 x 6.35 x 1.26 Inches
INCREDIBLE, RIVETING, ENTERTAINING!
Love this story! Just another example that love conquers all. Even though we may never understand why certain things happen to us in life we can know that God is always in control and working things out in His way and in His timing. Evil may seem to have the upper hand, but with God all things are possible!
I first would like to ...
I first would like to thank the publisher and Net Galley for my copy of Lisa Wingate's novel "Before We Were Yours." This is a historical fiction novel based on a true story of orphaned children during the 20's thru 50's. The story is a heartbreaking and captivating book told in alternating chapters between past and present.. Taken from their parents during an illegal raid a family is split up. The story takes one through the hardships of growing up in a orphanage, their placement and finally to the present. A fascinating story about this very sad time in our nation's history. Lisa Wingate's novel is excellent I would recommend anyone to read it who loves historical fiction. This is not a chick flick book as one would think. A 5 plus star read.
BEFORE WE WERE YOURS L...
BEFORE WE WERE YOURS LISA WINGATE MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ PUBLISHER Ballantine Books PUBLISHED June 6, 2017 NARRATOR Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is a thought-provoking and masterfully-told story of a family torn apart by one unscrupulous woman. SUMMARY In Memphis 1939, 12 year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live happily on her family's Mississippi River shanty boat called the Arcadia. But one stormy evening Rill's father has to rush her pregnant mother to the hospital. In the morning Rill spots a policeman on the river bank approaching the boat. She doesn't know what to do. Ultimately she is left with no decision but to take her siblings and go with the policeman. They are thrown into the hand of Georgia Tan and the Tennessee Children's Home Society and their lives were never the same. In Aiken, SC 2016, Avery Stafford, a successful federal prosecutor has returned home to help her father, a U. S. senator weather a health crisis. Avery was born into wealth and privilege and is engaged to her handsome childhood friend. A chance encounter with a women resident at a nursing home has her curiosity bubbling. When she asks her Grandma Jane about the mysterious woman, she hears the name Arcadia for the first time. But what is Arcadia, a place, a person or something else? Avery is compelled to find if there is a connection between her family and this lonely woman in the nursing home. REVIEW Everyone should read this book to ensure we all learn from the mistakes of the past. This story is fiction, but is based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals. Georgia Tann, who was director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country from the 1920-50's. LISA WINGATE's writing is fabulous and the story which she has creatively woven is both gut-wrenching and riveting. Reading BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is like floating in the rushing currents of the Savannah River, it's fast and fabulous. It's a book you will be thinking about long after you turn the last page. Make sure you read the author note at the end too! It's powerful and maddening! I listened to the Audible version of the book and the narrators Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber were superb and gave breath to the story.
Such a heart-breaking ...
Such a heart-breaking but intriguing story of siblings poor but loved and happy living with their parents on a shantyboat along the Mississippi River during the depression. The children were ripped from their home and stuck in children's home where they were beaten, starved, and worse. Then separated and sold off to wealthy adoptive parents....and it's a TRUE STORY! The woman behind the atrocities actually did this! I didn't care for the back and forth with the present day, although I get the why, and I liked the tie up at the end. But I found myself rushing through the present day with Avery Stafford to get back to Rill Foss.
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