Before We Were Yours: A Novel ペーパーバック – 2019/5/21
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THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT—A New York Times, USA 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.
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
“A [story] of a family lost and found . . . A poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.”—People
“Before We Were Yours is sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . [Lisa] 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 almost a cliché to say a book is ‘lovingly written’ but that phrase applies clearly to Lisa Wingate’s latest novel, Before We Were Yours. This story about children taken from their parents through kidnapping or subterfuge and then placed for adoption, for a price, clearly pours out of Wingate’s heart. . . . 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. Few novelists could strike the balance this story requires but Wingate does it with assurance. There are a lot of books that will catch your eye this summer, some from our best storytellers. Make sure this one is on your radar. It should not be missed.”—The Huffington Post
“[An] affecting new novel.”—The New York Post
“Every now and then a novel comes along that sweeps me off my reading feet. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, is such a book. . . . It’s a great book-club read, one of those books that teaches you something, gives you lots to discuss and even more to think about. . . . Take note: This may be the best book of the year.”—Shreveport Times
“This story is heartfelt and genuine, especially as Wingate explores the idea of home and family from a youngster’s point of view.”—Historical Novels Review
“Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power. That Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society could actually exist, unraveling the lives of countless children, stealing their pasts and changing their futures, will give you chills. But the real feat of this stirring novel is how deeply Wingate plunges us into the heart and mind of twelve-year-old river gypsy Rill Foss. Rill’s utterly singular voice will stay with you long after the last page is turned, as will Wingate’s courage to follow her anywhere. . . . Vivid and affecting.”—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun
“A powerful tale of family, of sisters, of secrets kept and secrets shared. I absolutely loved this book. I’m still basking in the afterglow, in shock at the true-crime elements, in awe at the journey of these characters who seem to have immortal souls.”—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
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This novel takes the facts and the recounted stories of the children who later were able to locate family members, when the documents were unsealed in 1995 (the home was closed in 1950). Lisa Wingate weaves a plausible story of a group of siblings caught up in this scheme. It is heart breaking to ponder, but presents a real situation that occurred in our country. Read this, along with "The Orphan Train", to get a sense of how fortunate you may be.
From the '30s to 1950, a woman named Georgia Tann, who ran the (Memphis) Tennessee Children's Home Society, stole poor children from their families and newborn babies from single mothers and sold them to celebrities, politicians and others who could afford them. It was all done under the guise of helping orphaned and abandoned children find good homes, but it was actually human trafficking.
Avery Stafford finds a puzzling photograph that leads her into an ever more confusing story of secrets and lies inside her upright, respected family. Along the way, she starts to question the man her family has picked for her to marry and her expected role within the family. What follows is a heartwarming story of love, betrayal, memories and staying true to your heart. In addition to the well developed characters and background love story, I liked the realistic view into the 1930s.
I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about a dark time in our history, when being poor was enough to have a family ripped apart forever.
This books focuses on one of the most evil women in American History and what she put countless children through. I am speaking of Georgia Tann, who ran illegal orphanages in Tennessee from the 1930s to 1950. This woman would steal children from poor families, change their names, and adopt them out to prestigious families. The author does an excellent job of writing a historical fiction book about Georgia Tann, and having it be told through the eyes of the children that she abducted. We follow the lives of 5 children who grow up on a shanty on the Mississippi River. They did not have money, but their family had love. That would all end when Georgia Tann sends the police to take the children and bring them to her. You will not believe the horrors that happen inside of the orphanage. It is hard to believe that the children survived at all. This book does justice to all of the children that died while under Ms. Tann's "care." It gives them a voice.
However, the present day part of the book was not written as well. I got tired of hearing about The Stafford Family and politics. I felt the the author spent too much time in the beginning talking about Avery Stafford's father and his political career. It never really ties into the story. I felt those were wasted pages that could have been filled up with more details that the author cut short.
The ending was not written well either. All of the sudden the book was done. It was like she got tired of writing it. The part of the ending about the sisters was sweet. The part about Avery was cut short. What happened when she called off her wedding? How did Bitsy react? She makes these issues such a part of the story, yet she never develops them.
All in all I would recommend this book. I couldn't put it down. I couldn't wait to get home from work to finish the ending. I just wish the ending was better.