Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
Before We Were Yours
Click for more information  Ebook
2017
Find It
Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Rill Foss (Girl), Lived with her parents and four younger siblings on a shanty boat on the Mississippi River until the day their father rushed their mother to the hospital; they were taken from their home and thrown into an orphanage; fights to keep her siblings together
Avery Stafford (Female), Prosecutor, Engaged, Upper class, Returns home to help her father through a health crisis; a chance encounter compels her to look into her family's long-hidden history
Genre
Fiction
Domestic
Historical
Saga
Topics
Adoption
Adopted children
Orphanages
Scandal
Kidnapping
Illegal adoption
Family histories
Social classes
Secrets
Siblings
Setting
Mississippi - South (U.S.)
Tennessee - South (U.S.)
South Carolina - South (U.S.)
Time Period
1939 -- 20th century
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Christy and Carol Award-winning -Wingate (The Story Keeper; The Sea Glass Sisters) weaves a complex tale about two families, two generations apart, linked by an injustice, based on a notorious true-life scandal. The story begins in 1939 when Rill Foss and her four younger siblings, who had been happily living on their parents' shantyboat on the Mississippi, are seized by strangers and taken to a Memphis orphanage. In present-day South Carolina, the Staffords, a wealthy and prestigious family deeply immersed in the political realm, takes center stage when Avery returns home to help her father recuperate from a health crisis. There she experiences a chance encounter with a resident at the nursing home, which leads to her investigating her family's history. As secrets are exposed, the question is raised: Are some things better left hidden in the past, or is it best to have everything out in the open? VERDICT Fans of Ann H. Gabhart and Tracie Peterson will be drawn to this quietly strong novel. The thought-provoking subject matter makes this at times a difficult read; although not graphic in content, molestation and abuse are two of the tough topics handled.--Shondra Brown, Wakarusa P.L., IN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Wingate's tightly written latest (after 2015's The Sea Keeper's Daughters) follows the interwoven story lines of Avery Stafford, a lawyer from a prominent South Carolina family, and Rill Foss, the eldest of five children who were taken from their parents' boat by an unscrupulous children's home in the 1930s. With her father's health ailing, duty-driven Avery is back in present-day Aiken, S.C., to look after him. She's being groomed to step into his senate seat and is engaged to her childhood friend, Elliot, though not particularly excited about either. Though her dad is a virtuous man, his political enemies hope to spin the fact that the family just checked his mother, Judy, into an upscale nursing home while other elder facilities in the state suffer. At an event, Avery encounters elderly May Crandall and becomes fascinated by a photo in her room and a possible connection to Judy. While following a trail that Judy left behind, Avery joins forces with single dad Trent Turner, with whom she feels a spark. This story line is seamlessly interwoven with that of the abuse and separation that the Foss siblings suffer at the hands of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, a real-life orphanage that profited from essentially kidnapping children from poor families and placing them with prominent people. Twelve-year-old Rill bears the guilt of not having been able to protect her siblings while also trying her best to get them home. Wingate is a compelling storyteller, steeping her narrative with a forward momentum that keeps the reader as engaged and curious as Avery in her quest. The feel-good ending can be seen from miles away, but does nothing to detract from this fantastic novel. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a "thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal."* <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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 fianc#65533;, 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> * Library Journal <br> <br> Praise for Before We Were Yours <br> <br> "A [story] of a family lost and found . . . a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets." -- People <br> <br> "Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you'll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann's legacy." -- Parade<br> <br> "One of the year's best books . . . It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel." -- The Huffington Post <br> <br> "Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation's history and weaves a tale of enduring power." --Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1