Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

eBook - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT—A New York TimesUSA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly 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.”*

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.

*Library Journal

Publishers Weekly’s #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017  Winner of the Southern Book Prize  If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection 

“A [story] of a family lost and found . . . a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.”People

“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

“One of the year’s best books . . . It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel.”The Huffington Post

Publisher: Ballantine Books (P),, 2017
ISBN: 9780425284698
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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ArapahoeDianeM Aug 18, 2018

I Really liked this book --- read it in two nights -- couldn't put it down. Great historical fiction -- going back & forth between the Present & 1939 in Tennessee --- and the current mystery of Avery, one of the main characters, trying to find out about her grandmother & family history.
The children who are in the orphanage are treated very poorly & sometimes I had to skim through portions because it was so tragic. A great Mystery and loved the ending.
At the end of the book, the author has included a summary of the true events of the Tennessee Children's Home during the 1939 to 1950 time period.

Aug 17, 2018

Lisa Wingate. I shall not forget her name nor the astonishingly descriptive, beautifully haunting and heartbreaking story of a family torn apart by greedy, unscrupulous people and those in authority who gave license to the people who stole so many children away from their biological families leaving them with no knowledge of their original heritage. It has been a while since a book grabbed me and drew me in the way “Before We Were Yours” did. I was both happy and sad to turn the last page.

Aug 05, 2018

Story of two sisters who were stolen from a poor black family in Tennessee. The orphanage that "sold" them to white rich families. HOrrible conditions and ultimate joy.

Jul 27, 2018

Enjoyed reading "Before We Were Yours" and learning about the history of adoption in our country. As an adoptive mother my heart broke as the story progressed in learning the fate of the Foss children and all children removed from their families by Miss Tann. There were many life lessons throughout the book on families, love, relationships, hardship, trusting, and determination. In the end, it was good to know Rill understood an adoptive family can be loving and nurturing to those they care for, but it can't take away the pain of losing your parents and siblings in a tragic way. So happy the two sisters were brought together in the end.

Jul 27, 2018

Referred to in a Friends of St Paul library promo

Jul 26, 2018

Loved this book! One of those that you don’t want to end but can’t put down.

Jul 23, 2018

This story has stayed with me like none of the others I have recently read. I agree with the other commenters: this is a sad but realistic story featuring women of strong character... a story made all the more poignant by its basis in fact. The families we are born into do indeed determine our lives' general direction. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be born into loving families with enough resources and education to give us a boost might consider how we can share with others less fortunate. The fate of the Foss family prompts us to count our blessings and focus on the joy in our lives.

Jul 11, 2018

A book that was a reflection of human tragedy in the U.S. The imaginary Foss family depicts the destruction of families - the 'child-trafficking' racket led by Tann and her team of adoption homes. I highly recommend this book.

Jul 10, 2018

This was a exceptional book. I couldn't put it down. Unbelievable that this was based on true accounts of the Tennessee Children's Home Society.

kkoenigc Jul 10, 2018

Well written and love the fact the book was based on true events.

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Jan 20, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 26, 2017

BRUCE PILCHER thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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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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