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La levigata esistenza di Avery Stafford, procuratore federale nella Carolina del Sud, si circonda da sempre dei privilegi che appartengono alla ricchezza economica, alle eccellenti relazioni, alla soddisfazione che dà una professione prestigiosa. Il suo fidanzato presto le chiederà, per come sono messe le cose, di sposarla. Niente male. Ma l'incontro inatteso con una donna La levigata esistenza di Avery Stafford, procuratore federale nella Carolina del Sud, si circonda da sempre dei privilegi che appartengono alla ricchezza economica, alle eccellenti relazioni, alla soddisfazione che dà una professione prestigiosa. Il suo fidanzato presto le chiederà, per come sono messe le cose, di sposarla. Niente male. Ma l'incontro inatteso con una donna ricoverata, come la nonna, in un istituto, un incontro che una persona più superficiale di lei avrebbe relegato nel quaderno delle situazioni spiacevoli (da dimenticare prima possibile), le punge il cuore. Un piccolo dettaglio, un perturbamento che le rimane incollato addosso. Chi era quella donna? cosa voleva dirle? Perché ora Avery non riesce a togliersi quella sensazione di un mondo parallelo che lei non ha, o forse non ha voluto mai intuire. E qui è necessario fare un passo indietro.Memphis, 1939. La dodicenne Rill Foss e i suoi quattro fratelli più piccoli vengono strappati alla loro vita magica a bordo di un battello sul Mississippi. È bastato che i genitori si allontanassero per una notte. Rapiti e condotti in un orfanotrofio del Tennessee, i bambini Foss sperano che i genitori vengano a salvarli ma la realtà è ben più cruda. La prospettiva è quella di essere venduti a ricche famiglie che non hanno figli e, tramite la crudele direttrice, così accadrà.Come potrà succedere che questa drammatica vicenda trovi dolorosamente la sua strada verso la coscienza di Avery e, dopo più di mezzo secolo, le apra gli occhi su un segreto che la sua famiglia ha nascosto da lungo tempo? Il cuore non dimentica mai il luogo a cui apparteniamo e per trovare il coraggio di amare occorre intraprendere quel viaggio.


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La levigata esistenza di Avery Stafford, procuratore federale nella Carolina del Sud, si circonda da sempre dei privilegi che appartengono alla ricchezza economica, alle eccellenti relazioni, alla soddisfazione che dà una professione prestigiosa. Il suo fidanzato presto le chiederà, per come sono messe le cose, di sposarla. Niente male. Ma l'incontro inatteso con una donna La levigata esistenza di Avery Stafford, procuratore federale nella Carolina del Sud, si circonda da sempre dei privilegi che appartengono alla ricchezza economica, alle eccellenti relazioni, alla soddisfazione che dà una professione prestigiosa. Il suo fidanzato presto le chiederà, per come sono messe le cose, di sposarla. Niente male. Ma l'incontro inatteso con una donna ricoverata, come la nonna, in un istituto, un incontro che una persona più superficiale di lei avrebbe relegato nel quaderno delle situazioni spiacevoli (da dimenticare prima possibile), le punge il cuore. Un piccolo dettaglio, un perturbamento che le rimane incollato addosso. Chi era quella donna? cosa voleva dirle? Perché ora Avery non riesce a togliersi quella sensazione di un mondo parallelo che lei non ha, o forse non ha voluto mai intuire. E qui è necessario fare un passo indietro.Memphis, 1939. La dodicenne Rill Foss e i suoi quattro fratelli più piccoli vengono strappati alla loro vita magica a bordo di un battello sul Mississippi. È bastato che i genitori si allontanassero per una notte. Rapiti e condotti in un orfanotrofio del Tennessee, i bambini Foss sperano che i genitori vengano a salvarli ma la realtà è ben più cruda. La prospettiva è quella di essere venduti a ricche famiglie che non hanno figli e, tramite la crudele direttrice, così accadrà.Come potrà succedere che questa drammatica vicenda trovi dolorosamente la sua strada verso la coscienza di Avery e, dopo più di mezzo secolo, le apra gli occhi su un segreto che la sua famiglia ha nascosto da lungo tempo? Il cuore non dimentica mai il luogo a cui apparteniamo e per trovare il coraggio di amare occorre intraprendere quel viaggio.

30 review for Non camminerai più sola

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    But 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. I still maintain that The Heart's Invisible Furies and Pachinko were more deserving of the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction, but I can definitely see why Before We Were Yours has had such an emotional impact on readers. Comparisons to Orphan Train make a lot of sense. The pacing and structure of both stories are similar, and But 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. I still maintain that The Heart's Invisible Furies and Pachinko were more deserving of the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction, but I can definitely see why Before We Were Yours has had such an emotional impact on readers. Comparisons to Orphan Train make a lot of sense. The pacing and structure of both stories are similar, and they both use the alternating older/younger narrator format to link the present day with the past (a favoured technique by many historical fiction writers, which is also used in The Thirteenth Tale, The Alice Network, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane). But, most of all, Before We Were Yours stands out for doing one of my absolute favourite things in historical fiction: exposing a largely unknown and horrific pocket of history. Alternating between the perspectives of privileged and successful Avery Stafford in the present, and twelve-year-old Rill Floss in depression-era Memphis, a story emerges linking Avery's grandmother to Rill and her four siblings, who were stolen from their riverboat home and their two loving parents. Through the dual narrative and Avery's digging into the past, a tale of unimaginable horrors is uncovered. Obviously, some people will have heard of Georgia Tann and the mass kidnapping and trafficking of Tennessee children, but I hadn't and I would bet a lot of others haven't either. In this book, we see how Tann led a team in capturing children from poor families and selling them to the wealthy. The children were first taken to a kind of halfway house where they were starved, beaten and even molested. Fictional details have been added but, in the end, it is so especially horrific because most of it is true. If I was to complain about anything, it would be the way the characters frequently have whole conversations without specific names, just to keep the reader guessing who is who, even when it doesn't make sense for them to withhold the person's name. This is a minor quibble, though, and I do understand the necessity for it. Overall, I really "enjoyed" the book. Rill and her sisters feel real. Their fear feels real. Their love for one another feels real. It is a history lesson wrapped up in a powerful and emotive story. A fictional tale that reveals a hidden truth. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Masterson

    I absolutely loved this heartbreakingly beautiful piece of writing! I'd give this book 10 stars if I could! "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate grabbed me from the very beginning, tossed my emotions around like a salad, and never let go! I didn't want it to end. I listened to the audio version! Both narrators deserve huge props for their performances! I actually think this novel was enhanced by the superb narration! There are two storylines going on in this novel, one in 1939 and one is prese I absolutely loved this heartbreakingly beautiful piece of writing! I'd give this book 10 stars if I could! "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate grabbed me from the very beginning, tossed my emotions around like a salad, and never let go! I didn't want it to end. I listened to the audio version! Both narrators deserve huge props for their performances! I actually think this novel was enhanced by the superb narration! There are two storylines going on in this novel, one in 1939 and one is present day. They slowly unravel and come together. I thought the writing was wonderful and so were the characters in both storylines. As gut wrenching as this novel is I feel it is an important story that must be read! There is a bit of chick lit to the part of this story taking place in modern day. I actually enjoyed the bit of romance in it, but I know some diehard historically fiction fans might not. People are comparing this to "The Orphan Train". In my humble opinion it's a much better book. Highly recommended!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    My book won the GR 2017 award. Yay! Wow! This book was really sad and had a happy ending at least. I had no idea this was a place and it breaks my heart 😢 This is written in the front of the book: For the hundreds who vanished and for the thousands who didn't. May your stories not be forgotten. For those who help today's orphans find forever homes. May you always know the value of your work and your love. This book is about the Foss children. They are fictional in the book but taken from real life My book won the GR 2017 award. Yay! Wow! This book was really sad and had a happy ending at least. I had no idea this was a place and it breaks my heart 😢 This is written in the front of the book: For the hundreds who vanished and for the thousands who didn't. May your stories not be forgotten. For those who help today's orphans find forever homes. May you always know the value of your work and your love. This book is about the Foss children. They are fictional in the book but taken from real life stories. The stories of this horrible woman, Georgia Tann, who had children stolen from poor families and sold to rich families. Those that actually survived living at the Tennessee Children's Home Society. These kids were malnourished, raped. Jesus, I can't go on with all of the travisties. You can google and find out tons of information Here is a photo of the evil woman. Here is a picture of a memorial to the hundreds of children who died. There are a lot of photos if you google. That's all I have people. I just can't. I'm crying too much to write anything else. Recommend to everyone. Mel

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Oh. My. Goodness. What a great read..... If you're ready for a story you can really sink your teeth into with characters that virtually come to life, here you go. "Adoption matron may have been most prolific serial killer." BEFORE WE WERE YOURS takes the reader on a heartbreaking, but mesmerizing journey depicting shocking truths about the real life Tennessee Children's Home Society that was active from the 1920's thru 1950.....an organization that basically schemed, lied, kidnapped and brokered Oh. My. Goodness. What a great read..... If you're ready for a story you can really sink your teeth into with characters that virtually come to life, here you go. "Adoption matron may have been most prolific serial killer." BEFORE WE WERE YOURS takes the reader on a heartbreaking, but mesmerizing journey depicting shocking truths about the real life Tennessee Children's Home Society that was active from the 1920's thru 1950.....an organization that basically schemed, lied, kidnapped and brokered children for profit.....while neglecting, molesting, and horrifically abusing those in their "so called" care even to the point of death.But all is not doom and gloom......We have two stories that unfold here; while one family is literally being ripped apart, a member of another family discovers truths about herself and an unbelievable family secret....while finding true love.Interesting and important work of historical fiction. Need to check out more from Lisa Wingate!Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    'Before We Were Yours' is a highly emotional and moving fictional story, inspired by true events. Through the telling of this story, Lisa Wingate sheds light on the despicable real life actions of Georgia Tann, a woman that ran a black market child trafficking ring masked as a legitimate adoption agency for decades in Tennessee. She catered to the rich and famous, providing largely blond-haired and light-eyed children to those that could afford to pay her outrageous price. She made millions off 'Before We Were Yours' is a highly emotional and moving fictional story, inspired by true events. Through the telling of this story, Lisa Wingate sheds light on the despicable real life actions of Georgia Tann, a woman that ran a black market child trafficking ring masked as a legitimate adoption agency for decades in Tennessee. She catered to the rich and famous, providing largely blond-haired and light-eyed children to those that could afford to pay her outrageous price. She made millions off of the sale of children, who were often kidnapped. This book spans generations, alternating between present-day and the past. The "past" story is narrated by the oldest Foss sibling, Rill (aka May). Avery Stafford, a former federal prosecutor and the daughter of a prominent Senator, tells the present-day story. Gradually, the two storylines intersect and the connection comes to light. The fictional story of the five Foss children parallels the real life experiences of hundreds of victims of Georgia Tann's illegal adoption agency, the Tennessee Children's Home Society. The children are stolen from their family's riverboat one night in 1939. Their parents have to go to the hospital due to complications with their mother's pregnancy and childbirth. Left alone, the children are taken by corrupt police officers working for the notorious child trafficker. Immediately, the children are thrust into a grim situation. They experience abuse and cruelty at the hands of the people running the "orphanage". Tragedy and loss become all that they know as they are stripped of their former identities. Separated, renamed and adopted out, their lives are forever changed. Avery Stafford first meets May when she is visiting a nursing home to support her father's political campaign. There is something about the elderly lady that calls to her. Later, when she is contacted by the nursing home administrator to say that May took her bracelet, she goes against the administrator's instructions and decides to visit with the lady personally. Their first meeting sets a series of events in motion. Avery begins digging into the past. She is determined to uncover the connection between her grandmother, who suffers from dementia, and the mysterious woman that she met at the nursing home. In her brief moments of lucidity, her grandmother's appears to light up with recognition when she mentions May. However, she is less than forthcoming. Avery is left to follow the cryptic clues if she wants to unearth her grandmother's secrets, knowing it may be the downfall of her highly public family. This is the type of story that raises awareness and will leave you feeling outraged. It was emotional, inspiring and heartfelt. I was completely lost in the plight of the Foss children, while I was heartbroken by the absolute injustice of it all. Ms. Wingate did a beautiful job of merging fact and fiction. The writing was flawless and the story was well-crafted. My heart went out to the Foss children, as I lost myself in their story. Like so many others, I was completely unaware of the existence of this illegal adoption agency and the wide-spread corruption that allowed these child traffickers to prosper for so many years. This book prompted me to educate myself on the topic and I was appalled by what I found. This was a tragic, and often depressing, story. However, I am so glad that I read it. It is an important story and one that needed to be told. It definitely isn't a rainbows and unicorns type of story, but it will move you and leave a lasting impression. Check out more of my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sister

    4.5 stars! What a heart-wrenching, powerful and emotional read! I’ll start by explaining that ever since I laid eyes on this cover a few months ago, I haven’t stopped thinking of this book. There is just something about this cover that calls to me and makes me want to reach into the picture to hug and comfort these two little girls. I have never had a book cover ‘speak’ to me as powerfully as this one does. With that being said, I was so happy that the actual story lived up to my hopes from the co 4.5 stars! What a heart-wrenching, powerful and emotional read! I’ll start by explaining that ever since I laid eyes on this cover a few months ago, I haven’t stopped thinking of this book. There is just something about this cover that calls to me and makes me want to reach into the picture to hug and comfort these two little girls. I have never had a book cover ‘speak’ to me as powerfully as this one does. With that being said, I was so happy that the actual story lived up to my hopes from the cover. It was an emotional, shocking and devastating story that I simply cannot stop thinking about. This fictional novel was based on true events surrounding Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage which was an organization involved with the kidnapping of children and their illegal adoptions. Tann made millions from her black-market baby adoption scheme from the 1920’s to 1950. I had not heard of this sickening piece of history until I read this and I have been googling and researching it since I finished this book. I have a hard time accepting this actually happened – it is so shocking and upsetting. This novel follows the lives of the five Foss siblings who grow up living on a Mississippi River shantyboat with their parents in 1939. They have a unique and wild childhood with parents who shower them with love and affection in unconventional ways. One of the children, Twelve-year-old Rill Foss, grows up taking care of her younger siblings, often fulfilling parental roles. Rill is one of the narrators of the book and she is a character I will not soon forget - I absolutely adored her! The present day story wasn't as interesting and slightly took away from my overall enjoyment. However, Rill's story more than makes up for it. I highly recommend this wonderfully written and well researched book! This will definitely stay on my mind for a long time. I will end with one of the several quotes that stood out for me. “I learned that you need not be born into a family to be loved by one.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a 2017 Ballantine Books publication. This is an amazing, heart wrenching story centered around the true events involving the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. When Avery Stafford, the daughter of a prominent Senator stumbles upon the possibility her grandmother is harboring a dark family secret, she nearly becomes obsessed with her mission to uncover the truth. The story flashes back to 1939, when Rill Foss and her siblings are snatched from their poor Mi Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a 2017 Ballantine Books publication. This is an amazing, heart wrenching story centered around the true events involving the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. When Avery Stafford, the daughter of a prominent Senator stumbles upon the possibility her grandmother is harboring a dark family secret, she nearly becomes obsessed with her mission to uncover the truth. The story flashes back to 1939, when Rill Foss and her siblings are snatched from their poor Mississippi Shanty boat, after their parents had to leave them behind in an emergency medical situation. They are taken to a children’s home, but before they were 'adopted' out, they endured cruel conditions and abuse. The narrative switches back and forth between Rill and Avery, but I must confess my heart was with Rill from start to finish. This novel pulls on the heartstrings, stirs outrage and horror, but at the end of the day the story was about familial bonds, and a spiritual connection that can not be broken, no matter what. Wingate did a magnificent job of pulling the reader back in time, creating a realistic atmosphere, and building a fictional story around one of the most shocking black-market adoption operations in American history. But, the real magic is creating characters we care for, cheer for, and want to champion. It may have taken a lifetime, but the truth has a way of freeing itself, exposing crimes and scandal, but it also brought out an incredible family saga that is both inspirational and heartwarming. Avery is a central character, but she can’t compete with Rill, so the author wisely fattens up her part of the story with a little romance, which kept her character from simply becoming a means to an end. I did enjoy how the mystery unfolded, which made Avery into a bit of an amateur sleuth. I loved the conclusion of the story, which was about a perfect as could be expected under the circumstances. It is all very bittersweet, with a lot of sadness, but there were blessed times, as well, and those are the reflections and moments that will stay with me. There are some difficult passages in this novel, which you should be prepared for, but this is such a great story! Everyone kept telling me I needed to read this book and they were right- so I feel I should pass that advice on to you- Read this book!! You’ll be glad you did! *For those who are unfamiliar with Georgia Tann, a Google search will give you a clear picture of her dirty deeds and how she was eventually exposed, although it was too little, too late. Shockingly, the children’s home was used by famous actresses Joan Crawford and June Allyson which is a little bit of trivia I was totally unaware of before reading the author’s notes.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    Sometimes a story must be told. Sometimes when the average rating for a book by 65, 652 people is 4.39...we are foolish to not read it. Sometime books rated high - are Goodreads Choice Winners - really ‘are’ heartbreaking- beautiful- emotional - important - historical - powerful - eye opening - educational - ( based on real life scandals) - wonderful and compelling. Sad with a happy ending! Like many have said —- I am glad I read it. The horrors were gut-wrenching - no other way to say it The few Sometimes a story must be told. Sometimes when the average rating for a book by 65, 652 people is 4.39...we are foolish to not read it. Sometime books rated high - are Goodreads Choice Winners - really ‘are’ heartbreaking- beautiful- emotional - important - historical - powerful - eye opening - educational - ( based on real life scandals) - wonderful and compelling. Sad with a happy ending! Like many have said —- I am glad I read it. The horrors were gut-wrenching - no other way to say it The few sparkles had me feeling ‘thank God’. As far as ‘storytelling’ goes ( two storylines) - past & present....I enjoyed both stories - so completely different - but my heart went out deeper for the past story with 12 year old Rill and his brothers and sisters. SIDE NOTE.... 1.....I sincerely feel thankful to the Goodreads Community——it’s books like this 'and' the other book which I’m almost done ‘listening’ to “Only Child” by Rhiannon......(which has me feel extra close to you BOOK PEOPLE).... ESPECIALLY TODAY — Given the horrific events in Florida— THE NEWS TODAY MAKES ME SICK-- I just want to do a GIGANTIC GROUP HUG WITH EACH OF YOU..... Thank you to the many readers of “Before We Were Yours” and sharing your heartfelt reviews. Thank you to the author Lisa Wingate for writing a book we needed to read. 2.....I’m about to take a ‘small’ neighbor walk ( injured my right quadricep muscle a few days ago - even walking is a challenge)....but I need the fresh air —- I’ve recently been engaged with DEEP AFFECTING BOOKS....so much sadness --plus my own body setbacks (again) --haha -- After I finish ‘Only Child’ ... I need a comic release book. Got suggestions?? Lighting candles tonight on Valentines Day ....not for us .....but with thoughts of all the people who this devastating news in Florida day are hurting beyond anything I can imagine. Happy Valentines to each of YOU ❤️

  9. 5 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    Rating 3.5 OK, so I'm going to be the party pooper on this one.......I liked this one, but didn't love it. There were things I really liked about it and other things that drug it down a bit for me (hence, a 3.5 rating). So I'll try to list a few here. First, the story. I think just about everyone knows this story. I'm sure I'm the last to read and review. A historical fiction read that has headlines plucked from the real world. Two dual stories told in alternating times between Memphis, Tennessee Rating 3.5 OK, so I'm going to be the party pooper on this one.......I liked this one, but didn't love it. There were things I really liked about it and other things that drug it down a bit for me (hence, a 3.5 rating). So I'll try to list a few here. First, the story. I think just about everyone knows this story. I'm sure I'm the last to read and review. A historical fiction read that has headlines plucked from the real world. Two dual stories told in alternating times between Memphis, Tennessee 1939 and present day Aiken, South Carolina. The true story portion was the horrible things that happened for over 30 years in the Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage. The woman running it had some connections - judges, politicians, police, those with money...who LET her get away with basically stealing children from their parents. Their parents were poor, or less educated, or just made her mad. She then 'sold' these children to unsuspecting potential parents...and probably some suspecting too. It's utterly horrible to learn of this part of our history. The two stories are told from the point of view of a family of children ripped from their parents and put through the system and a woman, a bit lost, trying to figure out what her family is hiding after an elderly woman mistakes her for someone else. What I liked: *The story from the point of view of Rill - OMG, so heartbreaking. I spent so much time reading up on real articles about this time and the horrible, evil witch who ran the orphanage. *I love historical fiction and always love to read where a small piece of history is used and a bigger story is weaved around this topic *The audio - the narrators were fabulous! Especially the narrator for Rill. (which helped the rating) What I disliked: *As indicated, I do love a story weaved around a part of history. But what I don't like is when an author just piles on more and more dread and horrible things to happen. It just becomes too much and after awhile, I think the story gets a bit ridiculous (yup, The Nightengale did the same thing) *Avery's story line. Initially, I had a hard time getting into her story. Eventually I warmed to her a bit, but the love-story portion was not needed. *Too long - so much un-needed commentary could have been removed. Most of this came in Avery's story line. For example, way too much detail on the cab, riding in the cab, etc. After sometime, I just wanted it over. *The very ending seemed rushed. Even though I thought it was a long read (needed editing), it just seemed so fast so many things were wrapped up too quickly with a bow. *Perhaps it's just me, but it bugged me a bit how none of the children even tried to speak up. I understand how horrible it was, but children usually speak their mind. Even when you don't want them to. At least once speak their mind before they realize the trouble they might get in. Then, as adults, they wanted to hide the fact they were sisters. Overall, I'm glad I read this. I learned a lot about this part of history. But I can't help but wonder, since this was the big NG Historical Fiction book of the year 2017, did I go in with the highest expectations that could not be met? I tried to separate that, but who knows....I didn't think this was the best of 2017. But everyone voted for their own favorite reads.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    I don't read a lot of non fiction so I really appreciate when a novel can enlighten me on things that happened that I wouldn't have otherwise known about . As in Orphan Train when I first learned about their existence or in What She Left Behind, which highlights the atrocities of a mental institution and in particular the treatment of women, this story inspired by real events relays the sad story of a family torn apart by the greed and horrible acts against children and their families. The autho I don't read a lot of non fiction so I really appreciate when a novel can enlighten me on things that happened that I wouldn't have otherwise known about . As in Orphan Train when I first learned about their existence or in What She Left Behind, which highlights the atrocities of a mental institution and in particular the treatment of women, this story inspired by real events relays the sad story of a family torn apart by the greed and horrible acts against children and their families. The author explains in her note that the characters are fictional but the place and the circumstances and the woman who perpetrated these acts are real. In a recent interview Wingate described the seed for this story. " A rerun of the Investigation Discovery: Dangerous Women cycled through at about two in the morning. I looked up and saw images of an old mansion. The front room was filled with bassinettes and babies. I tuned in and immediately became fascinated by the bizarre, tragic, and startling history of Georgia Tann and her Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. I couldn’t help but dig into the story. That was the spark that ignited Before We Were Yours." 5/29/17 in an interview on The Untold Story Guru. The reality of what happened to numerous children from 1920 - 1960 is depicted through the story of five siblings taken illegally and subjected to the adoption for money system spearheaded by Tann. I said that the story is sad, but that's an understatement. It really is heartbreaking and though the characters are fictional, I couldn't help but think about the real children who were affected. There are past and present storylines that do come together and make for a captivating read. The Goodreads description provides more plot details, which I will leave out here and just say that I definitely recommend it. I can't quite give it 5 stars as I felt that the romantic thread in the current story diluted the story a bit for me . It didn't add to the importance in my opinion. Having said that, this is a worthy read, eye opening and heart wrenching with a thoughtful and satisfying ending. I received an advanced copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group- Balllantine through NetGalley.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    4 Stars. A Disturbing, Heart-wrenching & Powerful Piece of Historical Fiction. Before We Were Yours is a story about families torn apart by Social Injustice. Told from two different points of view: Rill, now known as May, who experienced horrors most of us can’t even begin to imagine; and Avery, a former Federal Prosecutor and the Daughter of a Senator, who feels the need to live up to her families’ expectations at all times. Between the 1920’s-1950’s, The Tennessee Children’s Home Society was 4 Stars. A Disturbing, Heart-wrenching & Powerful Piece of Historical Fiction. Before We Were Yours is a story about families torn apart by Social Injustice. Told from two different points of view: Rill, now known as May, who experienced horrors most of us can’t even begin to imagine; and Avery, a former Federal Prosecutor and the Daughter of a Senator, who feels the need to live up to her families’ expectations at all times. Between the 1920’s-1950’s, The Tennessee Children’s Home Society was run by a matron named Georgia Tann. She illegally adopted out hundreds of children to the highest bidder. Those who stayed in the care of the home were abused, neglected, or worse. And sadly, many children died under her care. The tactics Ms. Tann used to scare parents into signing their children over were despicable and once that happened, there was nothing that could be done. She was the epitome of evil incarnate. Just ask Rill Foss and her four younger siblings, who found themselves in Tennessee Children’s Home Society one day, after their parents left them home alone. Rill thought life was a struggle before, but she had no idea how good they had it. One by one, Rill’s family fell apart and she lost control of everything. Avery Stafford is a former Federal Prosecutor, who left her own life behind (which includes her fiancé) to return home to care for her ailing father, the Senator. She has been summoned to attend political functions and events with him and be the “dutiful daughter.” In the midst of attending these events, she decides to visit with her Grandmother Judy, who is suffering from Dementia. During this visit, her Grandmother divulges something to Avery that she has kept hidden all of her life. This secret leads Avery to uncover facts about her Grandmother and helps Avery down her own path to self-discovery. The girls and women in Before We Were Yours are extremely strong & independent. My heart broke for all of the children who spent time in The Tennessee Children’s Home Society or any place that even remotely resembles that. Parts of this story were not easy to read. It is a truly profound & thought-provoking character study, which is full of atrocities that no person, let alone a child, should ever have to endure. While the subject matter is a tough one, the book is very well done and the storylines are intertwined expertly. Lisa Wingate’s writing is phenomenal. The book is so good, it actually hurts to read. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine & Lisa Wingate for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Published on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon on 6.11.17.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    No matter how many stories are told or books written, it seems there is a neverending supply of man's inhumanity to others still to be told. The culture, silence and greed necessary to let this type of evil perpetuate and grow. The Tennessee Children's society is the focus of this novel, harm against the helpless and most vulnerable among us and the poor who did not have the resources necessary to fight back. Hidden within plain sight, this place flourished in it's cruelty and money making by th No matter how many stories are told or books written, it seems there is a neverending supply of man's inhumanity to others still to be told. The culture, silence and greed necessary to let this type of evil perpetuate and grow. The Tennessee Children's society is the focus of this novel, harm against the helpless and most vulnerable among us and the poor who did not have the resources necessary to fight back. Hidden within plain sight, this place flourished in it's cruelty and money making by the silence of those who knew and should have spoken, but didn't. Two alternate stories, one in the past narrated by a young girl, whose brother and three sisters were taken from their parents and brought to this horrible place. Children were not treated well here, punished severely for minor indescretions and fed as little as possible. Blonde children were particularly valuable as they were more easily adopted, bringing the larger sums of money to it's notorious founder. Her story is heartbreaking, and though hers is a made up character her story is representative of many that were factual. The modern day story follows a grown woman, Avery, from a prestigious family who wants to find the truth about her beloved grandmother, now suffering from dementia, life and her own family background. I readily admit to liking the former story more, the writing is finer, the characters more fleshed out, the plot tighter and their story more interesting. I did like how the stories come together in the end. All in all, the author did a fine job with this book and bringing to light another little known injustice. Of course these type and other injustices are not just confined to the past, and I can't help thinking about the injustices being committed in our present that readers will read about fifty years from now. Something to think about. ARC from Netgalley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    An amazing,don't want to put down, hold the book in a big hug and wish this story never ended. Sigh* BUT.... This grabbed me from the get go. Two stories told simultaneously during 2 different time periods. Avery's story, present day. She's an attorney who has met up with a woman in a nursing home who says she looks familiar. Curiosity starts to open this Pandora's box. Rill, a river rat, has been kidnapped along with her 4 siblings back in the 30's and sent to an orphanage to be sold to the high An amazing,don't want to put down, hold the book in a big hug and wish this story never ended. Sigh* BUT.... This grabbed me from the get go. Two stories told simultaneously during 2 different time periods. Avery's story, present day. She's an attorney who has met up with a woman in a nursing home who says she looks familiar. Curiosity starts to open this Pandora's box. Rill, a river rat, has been kidnapped along with her 4 siblings back in the 30's and sent to an orphanage to be sold to the highest bidder. Secrets are revealed that threaten to destroy a political family. Based on reality, which is disturbing in itself, I'm still left baffled. How does Judy fit in here? What did I miss?? I did have some wine while I was reading this but not during its entirety. I loved the writing, I didn't mind the romance but it could have been a great story without it. 4.5 ⭐️ and a big thanks to Jen M. for her sleuthing efforts for assisting me with the final piece of the puzzle!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*

    This is 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. The siblings were kidnapped and taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis, Tennessee. Miss Tann This is 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. The siblings were kidnapped and taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis, Tennessee. Miss Tann is an evil lady and controls all the decisions. The home is rotten to the core. The stories are sad and gruesome. Kids were brokened. Georgia Tann made money by charging huge fees for adoptions, transportation, delivery out of state. She took children from poor families and sold them to celebrities and people with political interest. She duped women in hospital maternity wards into signing surrender papers while they were still under sedation. She told people that their babies died when they hadn't. Miss Tann was such a monster, a very evil lady. Georgia Tann did indeed facilitate the adoptions of children from the 1920's through the 1950's. Many of the children were not orphans. Many had loving parents who wanted tonraise them. The children were literally kidnapped in broad daylight and no matter how birth parents tried to fight in court, they were not allowed to win. The babies weren't given proper food or medical care. They were to weak and dehydrated to cry. They were tied to beds, and chairs, they were beaten, held under the bath water, and were molested. It was a house of horrors. In the end Georgia Tann died of cancer before before she could be forced to answer charges. My Thoughts I thought the book was a little disturbing and heartbreaking. The book went back and forth to the past and present. The past was the siblings earlier years and the horror they went through. The present was the siblings trying to find each other when they got older. I loved the earlier years the best. It was so emotional and heart breaking. I can't imagine how anyone could do these things to kids, but it happened. It was so awful. The Tennessee Children's home was a horror home. No child should have to go through what these children went through. The author did very well with the characters. She made them come to life. The siblings had a deep love for each other. My heart went out for them. I just adored the siblings, Lark, Fern, Gabian, Camellia, and Rill. I felt that Rill was the strongest one. Miss Tann was an evil lady, a monster. This is an emotional, heart breaking book that will stick with me for a long time. This was a Traveling Sister Read and enjoyed discussing it with them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    The perfect blend of past and present.... The present day was filled with mystery and secrets while the past was filled with heartbreak and hope... 5 simply stunning stars!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 WOW! Another fabulous book, the south sure can spin a story! I have read quite a few books recently that take place in the south, and all were wonderful and very interesting to this California girl.... and even though the historic part of this book was horrific and tragic, I could still see the hope, the good and the cult The perfect blend of past and present.... The present day was filled with mystery and secrets while the past was filled with heartbreak and hope... 5 simply stunning stars!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 WOW! Another fabulous book, the south sure can spin a story! I have read quite a few books recently that take place in the south, and all were wonderful and very interesting to this California girl.... and even though the historic part of this book was horrific and tragic, I could still see the hope, the good and the cultural Pride of the southern people..... This book took place during the 1940s as well as the present day....Rill A feisty river girl and her siblings were basically stolen and taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home.... The conditions of this home or absolutely tragic and what made it even more tragic is that it was based on a real place and events.... I am still slightly shocked that this actually took place in America and for 30 years?Rill was such a fighter, such a survivor, I was just so heartbroken for her and her siblings and what they went through... The heartbreak of the historic part of this book made the present day part of this book even better, it was a breath of fresh air... Avery was another strong character, trying to figure out her grandmothers secrets, and I was trying to figure them out right along with her.... there was even a little romance, and even if this book all tied up a little too neatly at the end, I am a sucker for a happy ending! And this definitely ended happily ever after! narration: major props to these narrators I think they added so much to the book they were Rill and Avery.... so five stunning stars also go to Catherine Taber and Emily Rankin... this was a Traveling Sister read with Jan, Marybeth, Brenda, Norma, and Marie Alyce... it is definitely more fun reading with sisters/friends like these!💕 You can find all the Traveling Sisters reviews at Norma and Brenda’s fabulous blog... https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crumb

    "For the hundreds who vanished and for the thousands who didn't. May your stories not be forgotten. For those who help today's orphans find forever homes. May you always know the value of your work and your love." The Tennessee Home for Children (T.H.C.) was run and operated by Georgia Tann during the first half of the twentieth century. Although some children living in the home truly were orphans, there were many others that were torn from their homes. The reason?The mother may have been unwed "For the hundreds who vanished and for the thousands who didn't. May your stories not be forgotten. For those who help today's orphans find forever homes. May you always know the value of your work and your love." The Tennessee Home for Children (T.H.C.) was run and operated by Georgia Tann during the first half of the twentieth century. Although some children living in the home truly were orphans, there were many others that were torn from their homes. The reason?The mother may have been unwed or the family was poor. Unbelievable, right? The law enforcement in the area covered for Georgia Tann and the other workers at the facility. In addition, there were "spotters" that would look for vulnerable targets to kidnap and place under the care of the T.H.C. If this weren't bad enough, the children were horribly abused and mistreated. Georgia Tann illegally adopted ,no sold,these children to the highest bidder, as if they were cattle. Briny told his daughter, Rill that she was princess of kingdom Arcadia. The river was her soul and the animals were her subjects. Rill lived and breathed the river. One fateful night,Queenie, Rill’s mother was rushed to the hospital when the delivery of her twins went horribly wrong... Waiting for the opportunity to strike, it was during this time that a spotter kidnapped Rill and her siblings, transporting them to the T.H.C. Shaken and confused, Rill does the one thing she knows best. Survive. My soul feels empty. The unfairness of it all is maddening to me. How could a person, in good conscious, rip a child from a perfectly good home on the basis that their family was poor? Or rather, an unconventional situation that society deems “unfit.” My blood boils for these children and the atrocities they suffered at the hands of the T.H.C. Their cries and shouts fell on deaf ears. These children were at the mercy of ruthless beasts (humans), who only viewed them as a paycheck. The writing was effortless. I can’t believe this was a debut. I felt as if I was in the deep south right along with the characters. Although, this was a heartbreaking story, it is one that demands our attention. Let us not turn our backs on these victims ever again. We need to listen to their story. Once and for all. After all, we owe it to them.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    PRELUDE Baltimore, Maryland AUGUST 3, 1939 “My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon. The room takes life only in my imaginings. It is large most days when I conjure it. The walls are white and clean, the bed linens crisp as a fallen leaf. The private suite has the very finest of everything. Outside, the breeze is weary, and the cicadas throb in the tall trees, their verdant hiding places just below the window frames. The screens sway inward as the attic PRELUDE Baltimore, Maryland AUGUST 3, 1939 “My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon. The room takes life only in my imaginings. It is large most days when I conjure it. The walls are white and clean, the bed linens crisp as a fallen leaf. The private suite has the very finest of everything. Outside, the breeze is weary, and the cicadas throb in the tall trees, their verdant hiding places just below the window frames. The screens sway inward as the attic fan rattles overhead, pulling at wet air that has no desire to be moved. “The scent of pine wafts in, and the woman’s screams press out as the nurses hold her fast to the bed. Sweat pools on her skin and rushes down her face and arms and legs. She’d be horrified if she were aware of this. “She is pretty. A gentle, fragile soul. Not the sort who would intentionally bring about the catastrophic unraveling that is only, this moment, beginning. In my multifold years of life, I have learned that most people get along as best they can. They don’t intent to hurt anyone. It is merely a terrible by-product of surviving.” This is the story of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, the facility, “home,” where Rill Foss, who will be renamed May Weathers, and her siblings who become wards, as well, are also all renamed by Georgia Tann. Tann ran the TCHS from the 1920s until the 1950’s. Her goal was not a lofty one, but for earthly riches – the kind you can deposit in the bank. The children were occasionally surrendered; often women under the influences of drugs during labor were forced to sign paperwork they couldn’t see well enough to understand even if they could read it. Often, the children were taken from their own front yards, stolen. Alternating between the present and the past, this weaves two narratives of some of the children who ended up at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, their story as the children who have just been brought to the TCHS, what treatment they endured, survived – although, not all survived – and how these events shaped them as adults, as parents themselves. What drew me back in, over and over again, was that I still found myself wanting to know what had happened to this family, and especially to Rill. What a marvelous character, a young girl in years, but ageless in wisdom, born to the river – I wanted to know the rest of her story. Engaging, emotional, a slow unraveling of the history, weaving in present day dilemmas which, needless to say, pale by comparison - against the ones these children endured. That seems to be the way that life is. It’s so easy to complain about small things, until you wake up to the news that Mexico has had a devastating earthquake, or see the latest news about the wildfires in California, or that Puerto Rico still is mostly without electricity, food, water. In the note from the author section, Wingate notes: “The Foss children and the Arcadia were formed from the dust of imagination and the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. Though Rill and her siblings exist only in these pages, their experiences mirror those reported by children who were taken from the families from the 1920s through 1950. “The true story of Georgia Tann and the Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society is a bizarre and sad paradox. There is little doubt that the organization rescued many children from deplorable, dangerous circumstances, or simply accepted children who were unwanted and place them in loving home. There is also little doubt that countless children were taken from loving parents without cause or due process and never seen again by their desperately grieving biological families.” Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system for the loan of this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Norma * Traveling Sister

    4 stars! Cover love!!!! BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by LISA WINGATE is a heartbreaking, interesting, and a powerful Historical Fiction novel that was enlightening to read.  This story was inspired by actual true life events about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that was based in Memphis and the director Georgia Tann. This Memphis-based adoption organization was absolutely horrific in the way that they treated and exploited these children. We thought that LISA WINGATE did a wonderful job at shedding 4 stars! Cover love!!!! BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by LISA WINGATE is a heartbreaking, interesting, and a powerful Historical Fiction novel that was enlightening to read.  This story was inspired by actual true life events about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that was based in Memphis and the director Georgia Tann. This Memphis-based adoption organization was absolutely horrific in the way that they treated and exploited these children. We thought that LISA WINGATE did a wonderful job at shedding light onto this story of how these children were exploited and of course, it was very heartbreaking and shocking to read about. Some of us didn’t even know that this horror even existed and went on for so long. Our heart broke for the children, parents and for the adoptive parents as well. Although, this story was based on true life stories the actual children that were portrayed in this novel were fictional. LISA WINGATE delivers a well-researched and emotional story here with alternate timelines, one from the past which was told by a young girl named Rill who was taken from her parents along with her brother and three sisters and were brought to this horrible place. The present day story was told to us by an adult woman named Avery who is in search of learning the truth about her Grandmother’s past.   Out of the two storylines a few of us enjoyed the present day one a little bit more as we didn’t connect as much to the characters from the past story as we did to the present day ones. The children that were in this horror home they all seemed to blur together and we felt like we never really got to know them.  We absolutely felt for the children in a whole though but all the horror just blended together. We felt we could see Rill's grief but we couldn't feel her grief. We could see that she wanted to go home to her parents but really couldn't feel her desperation. Some of us thought LISA WINGATE spent a little too much time on that and it created too much drama for some of us.  For the others they really enjoyed both stories. We absolutely loved how the two stories came together in the end though. Brenda and I read BEFORE WE WERE YOURS with four of our Traveling Sisters and we were split on how we felt about this one with some of us loving it much more.  For Brenda and I we were split as well with me enjoying it somewhat more than what she did. Most of us agree this was our favorite kind of historical fiction however for a couple of us things didn’t quite work out as well for them. To sum it all up it was an engrossing, moving, heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale that has definitely left us with a lasting impression.  Would recommend! All of our Traveling Sisters Review can be found on our sister blog: https://twosisterslostinacouleereadin...

  19. 5 out of 5

    (Bern) Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

    5 Stars - a heart wrenching, emotional and haunting read! "But 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." This book - how can I put in to words how it made me feel? It basically tore my heart into a million pieces but also filled it at the same time. How is that even possible? The answer is actually quite simple - the Foss children. Their tale was one of unimaginable loss and h 5 Stars - a heart wrenching, emotional and haunting read! "But 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." This book - how can I put in to words how it made me feel? It basically tore my heart into a million pieces but also filled it at the same time. How is that even possible? The answer is actually quite simple - the Foss children. Their tale was one of unimaginable loss and hardship yet it was also one of incredible love, hope and strength. This story was powerful and I loved the way it unfolded in alternating voices and time periods. It was the perfect blend of past & present. The fact that it's based on the true story of the Tennessee Children's Home Society and Georgia Tann makes it all the more powerful. I knew these characters were fictional BUT they were sharing a very horrific reality of many children and families and I was very aware of that as I read this story. It haunted me, touched me deeply and made reading this book such a moving and emotional experience. This one will stay with me for a long time to come & I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a "must read". Now to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart & put it back together.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    While this novel is based on historical events and real persons who existed in Tennessee in the first half of the 20th century, preying on poor families and their children, I found that I had great difficulty relating to it, primarily because of the contemporary story and the primary protagonist. My thoughts vary on this book. Some aspects are well done and the expose of the decades-long adoption ring in Memphis is both interesting and abhorrent. But the total presentation still bothers me, part While this novel is based on historical events and real persons who existed in Tennessee in the first half of the 20th century, preying on poor families and their children, I found that I had great difficulty relating to it, primarily because of the contemporary story and the primary protagonist. My thoughts vary on this book. Some aspects are well done and the expose of the decades-long adoption ring in Memphis is both interesting and abhorrent. But the total presentation still bothers me, particularly the "heroine" of the contemporary story, who might have stepped out of a romance novel. I wonder how this could have been done differently. Avery seems the Southern society "girl" made good, who has succeeded brilliantly but is still being hounded by the somewhat stereotypical women around her to marry ASAP in order to fulfill her role in life. There is so much talk of beautifully groomed people and lawns and flower beds in the contemporary story, that I grew tired of reading it. And romance is fine, but must it be such a large component of what should be such a serious historical novel. Or perhaps that's the novel I wish it to be, not what it is. I am glad to have learned of this history and to have had the opportunity to learn of it through historical fiction, which I find a valuable medium. I only wish the contemporary story had seemed as serious to me. I do realize that many, if not most readers have or may disagree with me, but I can only speak from my experience. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    3.5 stars This story is told in two time periods. You have present time with Avery Stafford. Avery is a senator's daughter and when her father gets sick Avery comes home to help aid him in any way she can. Some questions come up about her grandmother's past that Avery digs into that leads her down a path she never imagined. Then you have Memphis in 1939. Rill is the oldest child of a couple that live in a river boat. One night her parents have to leave all five children home alone to rush their m 3.5 stars This story is told in two time periods. You have present time with Avery Stafford. Avery is a senator's daughter and when her father gets sick Avery comes home to help aid him in any way she can. Some questions come up about her grandmother's past that Avery digs into that leads her down a path she never imagined. Then you have Memphis in 1939. Rill is the oldest child of a couple that live in a river boat. One night her parents have to leave all five children home alone to rush their mother to the hospital. While they are gone the police show up and take the children. They end up in the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage under the care of the infamous Georgia Tann. The kids were told that they were being taken so that their parents could later pick them up but Rill is beginning to realize that something more is going on. She tries to keep her brothers and sisters together but people are showing up for viewings and they are taking her siblings from her. I had not heard of this children's home or the true life Georgia Mann. Things were swept under the carpet while she was alive and committing her crimes and now it still doesn't seem to be talked about. She charged exorbitant fees for 'adoption' fees and even blackmailed parents into paying more money. Children 'disappeared' under her care, they were sexually, physically and mentally abused. I'm floored that she was allowed and abetted by judges, police officers and who the crap all knows. This book felt kinda chick litty for me but it does touch on her crimes in ways that will make you rage. I'm a nosey heifer and looked up her crimes and I'm disgusted. I'm glad that the author did take the time to spotlight this dang evil woman. The children's story line in this book was my favorite as the present day one just never connected for me. I'm glad I read it and hope that more authors will shine a light on these crimes. There are still people that will never know the truth behind their pasts. I can't imagine how these parents felt when their children were taken and there was nothing they could do. This is the face of an evil ass woman. She should be listed with Charles Manson, Jeffery Dahmer and all those other serial killers. The old bitch.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    One of the perks of being a reasonably successful author is that the FedEx man regularly brings me Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of soon-to-be-published novels. These are sent by editors who are hoping I'll read the book and offer a blurb, which will then go on the back of the book. The latest was BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate. I just finished it and am sort of wallowing in the post-novel afterglow, completely blown away. This was such a powerful, satisfying read about a group of sibling ch One of the perks of being a reasonably successful author is that the FedEx man regularly brings me Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of soon-to-be-published novels. These are sent by editors who are hoping I'll read the book and offer a blurb, which will then go on the back of the book. The latest was BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate. I just finished it and am sort of wallowing in the post-novel afterglow, completely blown away. This was such a powerful, satisfying read about a group of sibling children who were cast into the Tennessee Children's Home Society in the late 30s, run by notorious child-trafficker, Georgia Tann, who kidnapped children and sold them to wealthy families. I highly recommend adding it to your "To read" list. I loved this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    NOT JUST A PRETTY COVER, but Lisa Wingate has taken a heartbreaking and criminal time in a nation's history and produced a moving and compelling story of sisters and families torn apart by the Tennessee Children's Home Society Scandal (Memphis late 1930s) I was swept in from page one in this well written historical fiction story and Lisa Wingate's novel is a terrific example of why I enjoy historical fiction stories. These stories reach thousands of readers like me who knew nothing about this sa NOT JUST A PRETTY COVER, but Lisa Wingate has taken a heartbreaking and criminal time in a nation's history and produced a moving and compelling story of sisters and families torn apart by the Tennessee Children's Home Society Scandal (Memphis late 1930s) I was swept in from page one in this well written historical fiction story and Lisa Wingate's novel is a terrific example of why I enjoy historical fiction stories. These stories reach thousands of readers like me who knew nothing about this sad time in American history and although this is a fiction tale based on true events it gives me the opportunity to decide whether I want to further my reading by picking up a non fiction book or content to have read and a well written and beautiful fiction read where the author thankfully includes a note at the end which explains what is fact and what is fiction and also gives a list of further reading which might interest the reader. I think every country has its shameful secrets and a small country like Ireland is up there with its fair share of shameful secrets and its disgraceful treatment of mothers and babies in the not so distant past which is still only coming to light in recent years. Lisa Wingate weaves a well thought out plot with memorable characters and while there were a couple of times in the story where I thought ok perhaps that was a little too convenient or contrived but I just tossed it aside as the enjoyment of the story far out weighted any tiny issues I might have had towards the end. So happy to have purchased a hard copy of this novel as another beauty to add to my real life book shelf and the dust cover is staying firmly in place on this one. :-)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    The Hook - GoodReads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2017) If the reader’s here recommended it so highly, why not give it a try. The Line(s) - “But 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.” The Sinker - So many thoughts went through my mind as I read this book. Its themes of adoption for profit, out-dated adoption practices, separation of siblings, orphanages, child exploitation The Hook - GoodReads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2017) If the reader’s here recommended it so highly, why not give it a try. The Line(s) - “But 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.” The Sinker - So many thoughts went through my mind as I read this book. Its themes of adoption for profit, out-dated adoption practices, separation of siblings, orphanages, child exploitation and abuse are certain to horrify you as well as pull on your heartstrings. Five 5 siblings are yanked from their very existence, taken from their home on a riverboat on the Mighty Missisip by scoundrels who would sell them for profit in the name of a reputable orphanage. How they came to be targeted and the pawns of these reprehensible people is a piece of the story that has its beginnings in 1939. It is based on true events of The Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis, Tennessee and its Director, Georgia Tann. In a note from the author, Lisa Wingate, she outlines what is truth and what is fiction and provides several resources for further research. I’m certain I am going to read one non-fiction account of the Children’s Home and those who ran it. I grew up in a city that had at least two orphanages. I went to elementary school with some of the kids who lived there. I always wondered what kind of life they led in comparison to mine. They never talked about their experiences and I never asked. We were not allowed to visit them and I never had any of them to my house to play. I saw them as different. Isn’t that a shame? As a mother, the thought or reality of child trafficking of any kind is deplorable and frightening. I knew a single mother who gave birth to a child in a home for unwed mothers in the era this book was written. I could imagine the gut-wrenching grief this mother would have endured had that child been stolen or wrenched from her. I know women who have put their babies up for adoption. Imagine if the agencies were not on the up and up. I have known children of closed adoptions and their quest to identify birth parents. I have also known good partnerships of birth parents and adoptive parents in which the adoption is open. In recent months I have also read several books on DNA testing and how it might be used to bring adoptive children and birth parents back together, not always with good results. Though not every thing I’ve mentioned here is explored in Before We Were Yours it certainly had my attention. The story is told in alternating time frames of 1939 and present day. The characters are all compelling and the siblings in particular won my heart. Lisa Wingate tells it well, genuine, sad but also touching and with hope. Highly Recommended and deserving of the GR award as the many other accolades it has received. A final quote from the author note: If there is one overarching lesson to be learned from the Foss Children and from the true-life story of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, it is that babies and children,no matter what corner of the world they hail from, are not commodities, or objects, or blank slates, as Georgia Tann so often represented her wards; they are human beings with histories, and needs, and hopes, and dreams of their own."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    "Appalling. It's hard to imagine something like this could happen, and on such a large scale.....for years." Lisa Wingate creates a story framed around the dire misfortunes of the voiceless. To be born in the Memphis area in 1939 may cradle you in the loving arms of your true parents. But a good number of nameless babes found themselves far from being like Moses in his basket floating down the Nile. Where you have the kiss of innocence, you also have the lurking snarl of evil who prey upon it. A s "Appalling. It's hard to imagine something like this could happen, and on such a large scale.....for years." Lisa Wingate creates a story framed around the dire misfortunes of the voiceless. To be born in the Memphis area in 1939 may cradle you in the loving arms of your true parents. But a good number of nameless babes found themselves far from being like Moses in his basket floating down the Nile. Where you have the kiss of innocence, you also have the lurking snarl of evil who prey upon it. A stormy, hostile night finds Queenie Foss in the throws of giving birth to twins on a shanty boat on the river. Even the exasperated midwife has given up and tells Briny, her husband, to take Queenie to the hospital across the river. With no other recourse, the oldest child, Rill, is in charge of her brother and sisters. Days pass and their parents fail to return. The sheriff and his men spot the children living alone on the boat. In a blink of an eye, the Foss children will be trading the freedom of river life for the cruelty of a particular children's home. Based on a true story of the ongoings at the Tennessee Children's Home Society, Wingate weaves her storyline with true facts mixed with fictitious characters. This book will give you great pause. It will make you shake your head to realize how one individual, Georgia Tann, could round up so many other sociopaths with her similar mindset. She confisgated children from unsuspecting poor families, stole babies from birth feigning them stillborn, and boldly kidnapped the rest. Officials were paid off and she made millions. This, shockingly, went on until 1950. You can't cast that much negativity and evil into the universe without it finding its way back. The actual Georgia Tann died in anguish in her bed of uterine cancer.......the very organ that embraces the unborn.....the wombs that she stole from. Lisa Wingate shifts the story to the parallel of the present day with Avery Stafford in South Carolina following the trail of her grandmother, Judy. Judy is now in an assisted living facility. Avery comes upon some secrets that lead to other secrets. Judy's life fabric is a complicated one and Avery is about to unravel these knotted threads. Although this story is formed around heavy-duty subject matter, Wingate does sprinkle hope throughout. There's the imprint of the bond of family whether its source is known or unknown. And "family" can take on a whole different meaning to a whole lot of people. Just open this book to find out.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dorie ** Traveling Sister**

    I was blown away by this story and the great writing! I’ve never read a novel by Ms.Wingate but I will certainly be looking for more of her books. This novel tells the historically correct story about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society which was run by Georgia Tann in the late 1930’s. The story of the main characters was fiction but based on what really happened to many of the children in this orphanage. The plot is written from two points of view, that of Rill, later named May by her adoptive I was blown away by this story and the great writing! I’ve never read a novel by Ms.Wingate but I will certainly be looking for more of her books. This novel tells the historically correct story about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society which was run by Georgia Tann in the late 1930’s. The story of the main characters was fiction but based on what really happened to many of the children in this orphanage. The plot is written from two points of view, that of Rill, later named May by her adoptive parents and Avery, the daughter of a senator whose grandmother is now in a nursing home. From Rill’s story we learn about the children, many of whom were living in river shanty boats or other very low income type housing who were literally stolen away from their parents. Her story is heartbreaking but also triumphant, as she tries to protect her younger siblings who were all taken from their shanty boat on the river while her mother and father were in the city while taking care of her mother who was in a complicated labor and delivery. The children in this particular “home for orphans” were treated terribly, families ripped apart, the children living in terrible conditions and malnourished, some emotionally and physically abused. Avery, who was always very close to her grandmother, sees that she is slowing losing her memories and yet reveals in a conversation to Avery that there may be more to her life than anyone had ever known. When Avery meets another woman in a different nursing home who strongly resembles her grandmother and has a picture with her grandmother in it, she is determined to find out how these women are connected. She is also sure that there are more secrets to her grandmother’s life that she wants to learn about feeling that her grandmother’s memory is slowly slipping away and there is a limited amount of time to uncover the truth. There are other strong characters in this book that are all well developed. The writing is exceptional and the two story lines keep the reader puzzled as to how they will connect for the first two thirds of the book making the end discoveries a very engaging read. Not only is the book well written but it informs us of the atrocities that went on for many years under the Tennessee orphan home system. After I read the book I went online to learn more about this period in history and there is a lot to discover. I recommend this book to everyone who likes to read a well written character driven novel with a suspenseful atmosphere and historical details. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, thank you so much!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is a story that taught me about a time in history. In the 1930-1950's there was a woman named Georgia Tann who ran The Tennessee Children's Home Society, that stole children from poor families and sold them. The story of the sisters in this book, from a poor "river" family, is based on this history. It is really heart wrenching what happened to this family, but it was a beautifully told, and moving story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ♥Christina

    5 Heartbreaking ★'s “But 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.” This book is a fictional story, but it was inspired by true events. I finished reading this late into the night and I still can't get it out of my head. It was such a Strong, Emotional and Heart-wrenching read!! Any book that can make me feel the way I did, and make me cry the way it did, deserves nothing less than 5 5 Heartbreaking ★'s “But 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.” This book is a fictional story, but it was inspired by true events. I finished reading this late into the night and I still can't get it out of my head. It was such a Strong, Emotional and Heart-wrenching read!! Any book that can make me feel the way I did, and make me cry the way it did, deserves nothing less than 5 Stars. It took me hours after I had finished to even fall asleep. My mind was spinning, my eyes were swollen, and I felt like something was sitting on my chest. Still, as I am writing this I can feel it. It has been a good while since I have read something that is sure to stay with me forever. I still don't know how I feel about the way it all ended. I guess for me the ending was both sad and happy-ish. I recommend all of you read this one! *This cover is absolutely amazing! ♥*

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Historical fiction about family - those we have lost, those we have found and those with painful secrets. I love books (and movies) that are based on true events. This books sheds light on a another dark time in our nation's history - sad times for the children and families affected. A time where adoptions were not always legal and people who could pay for a child were given one no questions asked. This book begins in Memphis in 1939 when twelve year old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings a Historical fiction about family - those we have lost, those we have found and those with painful secrets. I love books (and movies) that are based on true events. This books sheds light on a another dark time in our nation's history - sad times for the children and families affected. A time where adoptions were not always legal and people who could pay for a child were given one no questions asked. This book begins in Memphis in 1939 when twelve year old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings are awaiting the birth of another sibling. When their father leaves on a boat to take their Mother to the hospital after complications arise during labor, men board the river boat on which they live, thus changing their lives forever. They are left at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage and are at the mercy of the branch operator, Georgina Tann. In the present day in Aiken, South Carolina, Avery Stafford, has returned home to assist her father with a health issue. While home she is approached by an elderly woman named May who takes her bracelet. When she meets with the woman, questions arise. Avery goes on a quest to learn the truth and to find out what connection this woman, May, has with her family. This book goes back and forth from 1939 to the present day. As the story progresses it is obvious that the story lines are going to meet but how they get there is the real gem of this book. The Author does a brilliant job in blending fact with fiction. She is able to take this real life scandal and insert her characters within it to tell the story of two families torn apart and put back together again. The Author shows the reader how Georgina Tann stole the children not only from their families but from their culture, their way of life, from their own identity and created new lives for them. This book is both heartbreaking, sad, hopeful and informative. How many lives were changed is astounding. The corruption that took many to pull off, the pain and suffering involved is really astounding. So much injustice and heartbreak caused to line the pocketbooks of those corrupt individuals. It is not a new story - people profiting off the pain of others..but it is an important one. See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I went in to this book not knowing very much about it. I had not read very many reviews and it was recommended to me. The author takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and tells a story of most compelling power. That someone like Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society could actually exist, is shocking. Countless lives of children were affected, stealing their pasts and changing their futures, will give you chills. But the real feat of this stirring no I went in to this book not knowing very much about it. I had not read very many reviews and it was recommended to me. The author takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and tells a story of most compelling power. That someone like Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society could actually exist, is shocking. Countless lives of children were affected, 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 voice will stay with you long after the last page is turned, as will Wingate’s courage to follow her anywhere. . . . This book is a gripping story about two families, and secrets. It's compelling, shocking, heartbreaking and very well told. The characters are well developed and you will be drawn in to their world. I would recommend this book. It made me tear up in a couple of places. I couldn't decide between a 4 and a 5 star

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