Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780425284681
Branch Call Number: FICTION WINGATE
Characteristics: 342 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Jun 23, 2019

Well written and keeps you guessing until the end. Sad story of family being ripped apart by corruption.

Jun 17, 2019

Awesome novel and I really love it. It tells us a story about granddaughter found out her grandma's secrets, and she also found who she really is and a husband during this journey. The story itself is sad, children who has family but were stolen by bad people and give to other families. I really love the ending, sisters could be together, and no more burdens to hold. They deserve to get united and share life. It's a book about relationship, friendship, self-knowing, and truth. Nothing could beat the truth.

Jun 11, 2019

After finishing the book, the deceptively sweet looking cover now makes my heart hurt. This was a dual timeline story, but the historical narrative was the predominant tale. There were familial links between the two, but the contemporary timeline mostly served as a mystery-solving conduit. It also inserted a little unnecessary and overshadowed romance, since most readers will have been taken in by Rill's heartbreaking journey. A journey that piqued my history-loving mind and spurred some fact-finding of my own. This author did some amazing research and some creative writing with what she had to work with. It wasn't all heartbreak, though. As the two narratives finally converge, there was a sorely late, but satisfyingly welcome happy and emotional ending. Definitely, a story that will stay with me.

Jun 03, 2019

I enjoyed this book even though the subject matter is quite awful at times. I did not know the news story that the book is based on and I believe it is something that definitely needed to be revealed. I felt that the author treated the horrible treatment of the children sensitively and, while she maintained the integrity of the awfulness of the story, she also wrote the story in a way that was captivating and engaging. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the two main characters: Avery is a politician's daughter brought up in proper society who discovers a mystery about her beloved grandmother who has early dementia; May is a 90 year old woman who was one of the children stolen and sold to adoptive parents by Georgia Tann of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage... a true scandal in the 30s & 40s.

May 18, 2019


May 07, 2019

Alicia highly recommended.

May 02, 2019

This is an amazing read based on true events. I enjoyed this story very much.

Apr 30, 2019

Gripping read and compelling story telling bringing to light the atrocities of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. I didn't know about this when I read the book, and appreciate this eye opening intro to the historic black market operation.

ArapahoeKati Apr 29, 2019

I can see why this historical fiction novel, based on some truth, has been getting rave reviews. Wingate can write a compelling story. Keep a box of tissues nearby as you get near the end.

Apr 23, 2019

I read this for the "True Crime Novel" part of my 2019 reading challenge. The Tennessee Children's Home Society was new to me and it was fascinating how Georgia Tann managed to pull off child kidnapping and illegal adoptions for so long, and in those numbers. The rest of the story I just found convenient, I didn't like the mixture between history and "present day".

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Add a Quote
Jun 17, 2019

"No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn't suit the moment."

Oct 12, 2018

“We plan our days, but we don’t control them.” - p. 95

Oct 12, 2018

“The argument ends where all arguments do—on the altar of compromise.” - p. 255

Oct 12, 2018

“I learned that you need not be born into a family to be loved by one.” - p. 314

Oct 12, 2018

“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she
chooses. Her own music. - p. 317

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.


Add Age Suitability
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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