My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
Before We Were Yours is based on a real scandal. During the 30s and later were children kidnapped and sold to wealthy families all over the country. For their own good. However, it was a very lucrative enterprise. This book tells a story about a family of siblings that are taken to Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage after their parents have left them on the riverboat they are living on. Their mother is having a baby and it's all going wrong so the hospital is the only solution. The whole family would never be together again. Years later will Avery Stafford through a chance encounter start to unravel the truth about her families history. And she learns that not everything is as it seems...
To say that this book is an emotional reading is an understatement. The worst part is that it's based on a true scandalous story. I knew since before that Lisa Wingate is a wonderful author and, as usual, is the writing on top. What really moved me in this book is actually the very end. Without giving away what happens will I just say that it's a wonderful although bittersweet ending. I will leave it at that and just say read the book!