Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT—Over two million copies sold! A New York TimesUSA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller
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
This edition includes a new essay by the author about shantyboat life.
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

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d
dschirmer
Oct 05, 2020

I always looked forward to picking this book up to see where the story would take me. I did not know the horrors of this story, I am glad it was able to be brought to light. I thought the love story line was unnecessary but I could just be cynical- I recommend as a read.

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Lunarchi
Sep 29, 2020

Before We Were Yours is the second book I’ve read recently that was narrated from several perspectives, one of them being a granddaughter searching for her grandmother’s secrets. The granddaughter in Before We Were Yours was Avery Stafford. Her grandmother’s secret involved adoption, the Tennessee Children’s Home and Georgia Tan. The story was historical fiction, but it was based on the real person, Georgia Tan, and the illegal adoption ring that she ran based in Tennessee. The second narration was by Rill Foss, a twelve-year old child who was a fictional composite of children who lived in the Tennessee Children’s Home in 1939. The plot was multifaceted, including the historical theme, plus those of adoption, sibling relationships and social status. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and was deeply moved by the story.

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esrobbins
Sep 27, 2020

Historical fiction about a family of children stolen from their parents and their experience at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. The story is told from two characters point of view. Rill Foss’s character was well portrayed and inspiring. This is a tough story to read because it’s based from real events in history but there is a hopeful note that weaves throughout the story and makes this a good read.

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t_lynschm77
Sep 26, 2020

It started a little slow but became hard to put down. The story is told from two different view points and different points in time. I found myself loving the story from the past, but by the end of the book, longing to read what was happening in the present. I love the different character point-of-view narratives. It was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. To think this children's home really existed is unbelievable.

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grammycarol49
Sep 20, 2020

The incredibly sad story of children who were taken from their family and put into adoption in Tennessee by Georgia Tann. Lives were broken and eternally changed. But some seemed to overcome even the worst circumstances and thrive.

a
AnnSkye
Sep 18, 2020

A compelling read based on real life events surrounding a Tennessee adoption agency. A real eye opener into some sad US history.

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cbcooksey
Sep 12, 2020

This is not my "normal" type of book, but I was intrigued by the fact that this was based on true and unimaginable events surrounding an infamous orphanage. I found myself listening late into the night because I couldn't wait to see how things turned out. Great book, and great narration!

t
tinlou
Sep 05, 2020

Hard to put this novel down...compelling story based on true life depiction of a truly sad chapter in US history. Story is divided into two time periods (past and present) and loved the storyline based on Rill and her family. The present tense storyline with Avery at the centre is not quite as interesting but delves into the often illegal depths families will undertake to adopt a child from the criminals who run these so-called adoption agencies. I very much enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it to anyone searching their family roots.

JCLHeatherM Aug 30, 2020

A haunting tale of love, loss, and family, this historical fiction piece is one that will stay with you long after you put it down. Based on the horrifically true tales from the Tennessee Children Home, where young children (even infants) were snatched from their families and sold off to wealthy individuals willing to pay big money for adoptions, this novel is split into two parts that coincide at the end for a memorable reunion.

ReadingAdviser_Lori Aug 24, 2020

This book is based on the unscrupulous Tennessee Children's Home Society which operated from the 1920s to 1951. The story is told by two narrators. Rill is a child who ends up in a home operated by the Society with her younger siblings. Avery is a lawyer who happens to meet 90 year-old Rill in the present-day. She discovers that Rill's past and the past of her famous political family are somehow intertwined. Avery is compelled to investigate the mysterious and secretive past that someone has been hiding.

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Quotes

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XueyingMou
Jun 17, 2019

"No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn't suit the moment."

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cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

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

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cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

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

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cknightkc
Oct 12, 2018

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

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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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