Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

nPublished:  June, 2017 by Ballentine Books

Pages: 342 pagesBefore we were yours by Lisa Wingate

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Publisher’s blurb: 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.

The Author: 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 Utah Library Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her work was honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live among the tall pines in the Ouichita Mountains.

My Thoughts: This is a book that everyone should read! Captivating, emotional and revealing. For me, this book clearly shows that human beings are the same everywhere in the world, some have just evolved to better ways earlier than others. Being from a third world country, stories about illegal adoptions, orphanage scams and child trafficking is not strange at all but to know that these things also happened and is probably still happening in the western world, not to black people but to white folk was shocking to read. Also, the way and manner these crimes were committed, tearing families apart against their will and the trauma hundreds of children had to go through as they were literarily stolen from their parents is heart breaking. Even the ‘rich people’ who adopted these children were also scammed as most often than not, they were told these children were orphans whose parents had died or mentally ill or had willingly given them up for adoption. It was a huge lie on every side. However, I love the way the writer kept me spell bound, taking me through two generations of Foss children, how their love for each other and God’s grace upon their lives led them to reunite and enjoy their lives together. I have learnt from this story that the heart most of the time never forgets true love and family no matter what but even then we should always live in the moment and not in our past hurts and disappointments, we should be grateful for the good that God gives us. As Rill Foss said in this book “Life is not unlike cinema. Each scene has its own music, and the music is created for the scene, woven to it in ways we do not understand. No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment. I let go of the river’s song and found the music of the big house. I found room for a new life, a new mother who cared for me and a new father who patiently taught me not only how to play music, but how to trust. He was as good a man as ever I’ve known. Oh, it was never like the Arcadia, but it was a good life. We were loved, cherished and protected”. This book was the Goodreads ( Choice 2017 Winner! it is that good. I recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers and all book lovers….


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