Before We Were Yours: A Novel - eBook
Before We Were Yours: A Novel - eBook  -     By: Lisa Wingate
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Ballantine Books / 2017 / ePub
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Before We Were Yours: A Novel - eBook

Ballantine Books / 2017 / ePub

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Product Description

Based on one of America's real-life scandals. Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.

In the year 1939 Memphis, Tennessee, Rill Foss is a twelve-year-old river gypsy whose family lives on a Mississippi River shantyboat. When an emergency takes their parents to the hospital, strangers take the children from their world and place into an orphanage. Rill fights to keep his sisters and brother together. 

Present day, in Aiken, South Carolina, Avery Staffords is the daughter of a U.S. senator with a career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore, Maryland. She is planning her wedding when suddenly her world tips upside down the day her father becomes ill. She returns home to help and finds out about her hidden past.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 9780425284698
ISBN-13: 9780425284698

Publisher's Description

NEW YORK TIMES 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

Praise for Before We Were Yours

"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

"Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power."—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun

Author Bio

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Wingate lives in the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas.

Editorial Reviews

"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

Product Reviews

5 Stars Out Of 5
5 out of 5
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3.9 out Of 5
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Displaying items 1-5 of 32
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  1. hplady
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Absolutely amazing book
    August 10, 2017
    hplady
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This review was written for Before We Were Yours.
    Before We Were Yours

    By Lisa Wingate

    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a truly amazing read based on true events that will break your heart. Beautifully written and heart wrenching, the story tells the lives of two different time periods and how the people in them connect across the years.

    In 1939, the Foss children were living on their boat with their parents who were at the hospital giving birth to their newest brother or sister. Police came and forcibly removed them, carrying them away to a home where they were told their parents would come find them at. The children were mistreated and abused at this home and their parents never did come. They began to understand that the home was part of the Tennessee Children's Home Society and that they were being put up for adoption. The oldest girl, Rill, fought so hard to keep them together and prevent abuse from happening to her younger siblings.

    In present day, Avery Stafford, part a wealthy and prominent family that has been in the government for several generations, is home to help care for her father who has cancer. She is in line to be his successor and has worked hard for this day. A chance encounter at a nursing home with an elderly lady named May will change her life forever.

    May looks eerily like Avery's grandma Judy. She even says that Avery has her bracelet, which was a gift from Avery's Grandma. The two ladies begin a discussion that will lead Avery to search her family history and discover shocking secrets that could affect their entire futures. Along the way, Avery begins to question her own life and what she wants to do. She realizes that her future is not as planned out as she has imagined.

    The two stories interweave perfectly to create an amazing finish that will leave you hungering for more. I absolutely recommend this book!! I received a free copy of this story for my honest review from NetGalley.

  2. Seasons of Grace
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Loved this book!
    July 21, 2017
    Seasons of Grace
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Before We Were Yours.
    When Lisa writes a story she takes you there - the setting, the characters - it all comes to life. She engages you mentally, emotionally, personally. You visualize it, feel it, live it!

    This book was another winner for me. The characters came alive! I lived the story through them. There were times when my blood boiled, my eyes leaked tears, and my heart felt like it was being pulled out of my chest. Other times, I celebrated, rejoiced, and anticipated what was to come. I wanted to read the ending just so I wouldn't have to deal with the suspense. It was like sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, fingers clenched, just waiting...

    This book is written in past and present day, so there is quite a bit of flip flopping back and forth between the chapters. There were times when I read Rill's story and skipped over Avery, or vise versa, because I couldn't stop and switch characters. Then I would go back read the other to catch up. It really didn't matter either way, it only took me about 48 hrs to complete. It kept me up late, made me shirk my housekeeping duties, and will remain with me for a long time to come.

    Why? Because although the characters in this book are fictional, the story has historical foundation. Those kinds of stories stick with you, they tug at your heart, they make you aware. It's sad to read about what happened. There's an odd twist of fate for those who turned out okay, survived the system, and enjoyed good lives. A joy and sadness parallel.

    Don't miss this book! It's beautifully written, compelling, and incredibly well done. Thank you, Lisa!

    I was blessed with a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not asked to review this book positively. All opinions are my own.
  3. Vicky
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent, Excellent, Excellent
    July 17, 2017
    Vicky
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Before We Were Yours.
    I fell in love with Lisa Wingate's writing after reading The Prayer Box. Since then I have devoured all her books. When I read what this book was about, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. As I kept reading, my heart was broken by the story, but I kept reading to see just how things will turn out.

    There was a point in the book about 50 pages from the end that I couldn't wait to see how she will pull it all together, but I did not want the book to end...it is that good. This book is probably my number two favorite book of all time and I will go back and reread it again just because the story is so intense and I might have missed something.

    Lisa is masterful at weaving the past and present stories together with such expertise. This storyline is actually out of our nation's history. There was the Memphis Tennessee Children' Home Society that would actually steal and sell mostly poor but vulnerable children to the highest bidders. Georgia Tann is a cruel director of the home and what the children went through is horrifying and tragic.

    This was 1939 and how this heartbreaking injustice could happen and how parents and kids could be ripped apart and many never reunited with each other. Present day is in Aiken, South Carolina where Avery Stafford is a federal prosecutor and has a wealthy family. A chance encounter leaves her with questions and sends her on a journey through family history. You will be entrenched in the life of twelve year old river gypsy Rill Foss as she and her brother and sisters are thrown into the Children's home. She struggles to keep her sisters and brother together in this dangerous setting.

    This quote from Rill was heartbreaking. "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 any time 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".

    This is not just a story you read and forget, it is a story that will stay with you. It is a journey that I hope you will take...you will be angry, tearful and you will be left with hope. Hope that the heart never forgets where we belong.
  4. Fromtheheart
    Minnesota
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A story I will read again!
    July 17, 2017
    Fromtheheart
    Minnesota
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Before We Were Yours.
    Before We Were Yours is a fictional account of a story that really happened. From 1924-1950, approximately 5000 children were stolen and then adopted out to wealthy families. This story makes it real as it follows a poor family who loses its children and its identity through this horrible racket. It follows the children into adulthood and shows the real consequences that each face because of the tragedy they lived through.

    Because I am an adoptive mother myself, this story touched me deeply on many levels. The loss, the hopelessness, the frustrations felt by the characters are so real. I lived the story with the characters. They stay with you for a long time.

    The story switches from the past story to a present story because a granddaughter researches it because of an old photograph. We see how the past influences the present and the future. Though the story has so much pain in it, the story does not leave you hopeless. The conclusion fills you with grace and hope. Life does move forward and love can prevail.

    I recommend this book for its realness and for its deep emotional pull. I keep thinking about the characters and the many children and families who went through this difficult time. Before We Were Yours speaks about adoption, orphans, elderly, and the human story with authenticity and weaves love and grace into it so it becomes a story you will want to savor and read again.
  5. mcaldwell
    Erie, PA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Heartache on the River
    July 7, 2017
    mcaldwell
    Erie, PA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    In the late 1930s, the five Foss children find themselves entrapped at the Tennessee Childrens Home Society orphanage. They were collected against the true knowledge of their parents, through the work of Georgia Tann. Ms. Tann for years ran an illegal adoption ring and was in charge of child trafficking. Although the Foss children are a fictional family, the stories their lives hold are based on accounts from children impacted by the scandal. Actually much bigger than a scandal, but oh my.

    Its a riveting read as modern day granddaughter who is an attorney seeks to find out and maybe hide the possibly family dirty laundry. What Avery Staffords finds will keep the reader turning pages. In finding the truth behind Mays story, Avery is also forced to make personal decisions that will impact her own adult years.

    This was a much anticipated, by me, book as Ive read and relished her other stories over the years. Thanks to Lisa Wingate for another super read! And, thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
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