Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Title: Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
Published: June 2017, Ballantine Books
Format: Hardcover, 347 pages
Source: Personal copy

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 fiancĂ©, 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.

My thoughts: There are books you know that just based on the subject they will have a lasting impact on you...this is one of those books. It is also that type of book that you hem and haw about picking up, knowing it will break you to read it, but knowing it's such an important book that just begs you to be read. Thanks to a buddy read, I finally picked this one up and I'm so glad I's both heartbreaking and mesmerizing.

While this book is historical fiction, it is base on real events and it just boggles my mind that this woman, Georgia Tann, got away with what she did for so long. She basically kidnapped children from poorer families and sold them to wealthy families who had trouble conceiving. It is reprehensible that anyone would allow this to happen. The families portrayed in this book are all fictional, but it is all based on fact. 

I am a huge fan of dual narratives and I felt that this one was done so well. I was equally invested in both timelines and I can only imagine the horror of finding out that your own family was torn apart by the acts of this horrific woman and her organization. It was the learning of this secret that kept me hooked in the present day story line and of course hearing the voice of a child going through the process of being taken from their own home in the past. 

This is the type of book that stays with you long after you read that last page. It's a very powerful read and will break and shatter you, but it deserves to be read. 



  1. This story sounds very intense and powerful. Excellent review!

  2. My niece had to read this for summer reading (9th grade) this year. I plan to borrow it from her!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

Blogger Template Created by pipdig