Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"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 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 fiance, 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"-- Provided by publisher
"Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780425284681
0425284689
Characteristics: 342 pages ; 24 cm

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t
TaraAttea
Nov 29, 2018

This book has such an incredibly sad undercurrent. I'm glad I read it, but would recommend only with the clearest of warnings that it is incredibly sad.

p
pattyjoy1
Nov 27, 2018

This was my first Lisa Wingate book and I must say that I love her writing style. The truth of Tennessee Children's Home Society makes this very difficult subject matter, however the way Wingate develops the storyline was captivating.
This book both broke my heart and mended it again. This is an unforgettable read and has me thinking about other similar injustices that exist. Unforgettable...

b
brangwinn
Oct 26, 2018

Set in the depression the fictional account of children who were “stolen” by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, follows the lives of four sisters. I was confused by Grandma Judy and how she fit in, but that was because I hadn’t paid attention to the clues in the story. The ending seemed a little too much like a fairy tale to me, but still the book brings to light the horrors faced by the poor.

t
tommytoes_0
Oct 23, 2018

My wife actually read this--her words are: My first Lisa Wingate read. I was quite pleased with her presentation of this subject-- of stealing children and using them as money making subjects. I was familiar with Georgia Tann and her career, and Ms. Wingate covered it well within a heart wrenching, yet, tasteful prose.

m
momakek
Oct 20, 2018

Interesting part of our shameful history and for me hard to read that this really went on and with sanction by those in authority. Yet it is a compelling read and one worth your time.

c
cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is absorbing historical fiction that is based upon the horrific true-life events involving the Tennessee Children’s Home Society of the 1930s. Author Lisa Wingate beautifully intertwines 2 alternating storylines set in the past and present to tell this unforgettable tale of corruption, greed, power, long-buried secrets, and the strength of familial bonds. I find this book to be all the more relevant and troubling for today’s world given our government’s current policy of separating immigrant families at the border.

m
maryherring
Sep 20, 2018

An awesome book, that is impossible to put down. Start this book when you have time to read it and finish it. So many twists and turns in the story, it keeps you engaged the entire book.

ArapahoeAnnaL Sep 17, 2018

This historical novel dramatizes a shameful episode in American history where children from low income families were stolen and sold on the black market. "It’s estimated that over 5,000 children were stolen by (Georgia) Tann and the (Tennessee Children's Home) Society between 1924 and 1950 and that some 500 died at the society’s hands as a result of poor care, disease and, it is suspected, abuse.." - New York Post.

There are two plots, one takes place in 1939 in Tennessee and the other in present day North Carolina. There is some satisfying mystery and suspense as the connections between the two plots are revealed. Character development was less satisfying but the story is dramatic and absorbing.

j
Jessi52
Sep 12, 2018

Story of a family of blonde blue eyed children being torn from their family, some sold to wealthy families wanting children, others unknown where they ended up. Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society went unchecked for 30+ years, stealing and abusing children, while getting rich in the process. She had a judge in her pocket too, making the process easier for her. Heartbreaking.

b
bronteside
Sep 10, 2018

A story where fiction delivers the painful truths of
The state sanctioned theft of children ; a practice
so insidious it is allowed to continue for decades.
Shameful parallels to the wholesale ‘sixties scoop’of indigenous
children from their homes to residential schools come to mind.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

“We plan our days, but we don’t control them.” - p. 95

c
cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

“The argument ends where all arguments do—on the altar of compromise.” - p. 255

c
cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

“I learned that you need not be born into a family to be loved by one.” - p. 314

c
cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she
chooses. Her own music. - p. 317

ArapahoeMaryA Jun 13, 2017

I clench my teeth so hard the pain travels all the way to the top of my head. I'm glad for it - it's just a little ache and I know where it comes from. I can stop it anytime I want. The one in my heart is way bigger. I can't fix it no matter how hard I try. It scares me so much that I can't even breathe.

"…the love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat; it is as ever present as a pulse.

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Mya614
Jan 20, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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BRUCE PILCHER
Sep 26, 2017

BRUCE PILCHER thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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