THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT - A #1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller
Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story. For readers of Where the Crawdad Sings and Orphan Train.
Born into a world of wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all. A loving daughter to her father, a US senator, with her own ambitious career as a lawyer and a handsome fiance waiting for her in Baltimore, she has lived a charmed life.
But when Avery returns to Aiken to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with May Crandall, an elderly woman she's never met before, leaves Avery deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about May's life will take her on a journey through a hidden history of stolen children and illegal adoption. A journey that will reveal a secret that could lead 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--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.
'Wingate is a compelling storyteller, steeping her narrative with a forward momentum that keeps the reader as engaged and curious.' - Publisher's Weekly
'It is impossible not to get swept up in this near perfect novel. It invades your heart from the very first pages and stays there long after the book is finished.' - Huffington Post
'The society seems too Dickensian to be true, except that it was, and its black-market adoption practices caused a stir in the mid-twentieth century. Wingate writes with flair, and her distinctly drawn characters and adept use of the adoption scandal will keep readers turning the pages.' - Booklist
'Lisa Wingate's heart-racing, heart-wrenching tale of a family ripped apart by the Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal, rang so true I couldn't sleep until I knew their fate. Days later, I'm still haunted by the diabolical plot to steal and sell the most vulnerable children to high bidders, sanctioned by high-ranking officials who looked the other way.' - Julie Kibler, International Bestselling Author of Calling Me Home
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours is a dazzling piece of historical fiction that lays bare the sinister work of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and its decades-long legacy of kidnapping and illegal adoptions in the U.S. Wingate deploys dual storylines—one current, one set in the 1930s—to create a captivating, devastating portrait of one family’s reckoning with years of lies, shame and long-buried secrets.
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.
Couldn’t put it down
This book was an incredible read. It had me turning pages long after bed time. My heart literally ached reading this book and at times I was in fits of sobs, but it was well written and engaging.
Compelling could not put it down
There is always that one person who will see and seize the opportunity to make money out of other peoples misfortunes, such a person was Georgia Tann.
The Foss siblings were just one of many stories that could be told of children called “river rats “ collateral damage of the depression era, but whilst they lived in poverty, that did not necessarily mean they weren’t loved.
History shows us that countless types of Orphanages no matter what the country, have always been either good or bad depending on who is running them, and for what reasons.
The author kept the story flowing despite the switching of chapters from past to present. Rill/May faced untold threats and hardship being the eldest of her family.
It is story of about never giving up no matter what, and the triumph of the spirit on Sister Days
Before we were yours