Monday, June 12, 2017

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: June 6th 2017 by Ballantine Books 

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate  is part of the SheReads Summer book selections.     SheReads is a community of bloggers that as a group help promote specific books.   We share reviews, thoughts, and our feelings after reading books suggested to us by the wonderful people who run the SheReadsOrganization.  

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 shanty boat. 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.

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 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. 

My Thoughts…

The dual timelines with dual storylines come together to make the perfect story.     The present day story is Avery Stafford’s story.   The story of a young woman finding out the history of her family and learning what shaped her grandmother into the woman she became.    The past story is Rill’s story.     The story of growing up with parents, being taken away, and then having a new family.    I LOVED how this story came together.  The present and the past came together perfectly, intertwining to tell the story of strength, love, and family.  

The history of the Tennessee Children’s Society was chilling.   There are children in the world that are truly orphans and possibly Ms. Tann saved them by taking them in and placing them with new parents.   What chilled me though was the children who were taken from their parents against their wishes just because the parents were poor or the children looked like what adoptive parents were looking for.     The idea that a biological parents, who cared for their children, lost their children at Ms. Tann’s whim made my stomach turn.     

Before We Were Yours is a heartwarming, heart tugging, heart loving story.   There is grief, new families, and reconnecting with those once thought lost.    I enjoyed every page, chapter, and word of this book. 

Thank you Melanie DeNardo and Mary Moates at Penguin Random House and NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  

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