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.
Aitken, 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.
Have you ever had a novel hangover? Where you feel like you just can’t move on to another novel? Where you wonder what happens to the characters after you’ve finished the last page? Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate was this for me. I loved this book!
As I read about the life Rill, her siblings, Queenie and Briny lived my heart went out to them. I could visualize the shanty they lived on, and their surroundings. Lisa Wingate writes in such a way that you find yourself right there on the river bank with them, locked in the basement of the orphanage with them, and then the mansions too.
The fast-moving plot ranges from magical to evil, and then lovely. It is sad to say that many of the orphans that went to the Tennessee Children’s Home did not have the same results as little orphan Annie. I read this whole book before realizing that it was partially a true story. Georgia Tann was real, and real children were kidnapped and then basically sold to the highest bidder.
This novel would make a great Hallmark movie! It has a little bit of everything… family secrets, a touch of romance, hope and a mystery.
This novel will be released June 6, 2017, so put this title on your to be read (TBR) list. I will remind you when it is available. But while you wait, you should also check out Lisa Wingate’s book, The Prayer Box. Click here for that review.
Thanks go out to Netgalley and publisher for providing me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
FYI: The little photo above my review is actually an affiliated link. Basically, if you would like to purchase this book and you click on that photo or any of the title links and it will send a few pennies my way. I use those pennies to keep my blog going. (Actually, if you want to know the truth, I’ve never received enough pennies to pay for it, but it will help.) Thanks!