Before We Were Yours

Before we were yoursAuthor: Lisa Wingate

Publisher: Ballantine

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another fantastic past/present collision story produced by Wingate! This one will make you cry!

Set in 1939 Memphis, Tennessee, Rill Foss and her younger siblings all live with their parents on a riverboat. The great depression has hit several folks hard, but living on the river can get you by if you all love one another.  Their mother is now pregnant with twins and several complications have arisen, so much so that a local midwife won’t help her deliver the babies on the boat.  Forced with a tough decision, their father leaves twelve-year-old Rill in charge of the kids and takes their mother to a hospital.  But in the morning light, a police officer shows up to take the kids to their parents saying that the twins have died, but actually delivers them to the Tennessee Children’s Home.  Once there, Rill begins to realize that the orphanage intends to see all the children into adoption.  Can she keep her family together and get back to their parents?

Fast-forward to present day in Aiken, South Carolina, Avery Stafford is beginning the process she was groomed for, to take over her father’s senate seat. She achieved a law degree and was fast tracked with the US attorney’s office, but her father got cancer and is starting to have to slow down in order to keep his health.  Worse, they have recently had to put her grandmother in a nursing home for Alzheimer’s disease and this has become a hot button on the candidacy due to conditions of lower income nursing homes.  While visiting one of the nursing homes, one of the residents appears to recognize Avery as part of her past and steals her bracelet, which her grandmother gave her.  When she comes back to collect it, she sees a picture in the woman’s room with her grandmother in it.  What secrets was her grandmother involved in?

As expected, Lisa Wingate has written another phenomenal book combining connected lives of the past and present. I’ve enjoyed several of her previous series, which often make me emotional, but this one really struck a nerve.  The book is based on an actual organization that operated as a black-market adoption ring in Memphis called the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, which was operated by Georgia Tann.  The last national interest in this organization was about 25 years ago and has been somewhat forgotten by today’s society, as have many other events that are worthy to note.  But Wingate has resurrected this with passion.  I hope that everyone who reads this book will go do some research on the organization and get an idea of what atrocities were committed.  With two young boys of my own, this really hit home for me.  I don’t know what I would have done had it happened.  I may have ended up just like Quennie.

Wingate’s writing and character developed are superb as usual. She manages to take the reader back in time to understand the scene as well as easily transition back to present day.  I have been looking forward to this book for a long time and I’m glad that I read it.  I hope you will read it too!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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