9 reviews

Before We Were Yours: A Novel
by Lisa Wingate

Published: 2017-06-06
Hardcover : 352 pages
57 members reading this now
94 clubs reading this now
11 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 9 of 9 members

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 ...

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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

Editorial Review

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Do you believe Avery was right to spill her grandmother's secret to her father?
Did you have a preference for Avery's story over Rill/May's?
by jpernarelli (see profile) 08/16/17

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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by rms516 (see profile) 09/21/17

  "Before We Were Yours: A Novel"by lindabeh55 (see profile) 09/20/17

A beautiful, if heartbreaking, novel. This story is fiction, but based on true events regarding trafficking children. It was a page turner. I highly recommend this book.

by rebecca.c.l.cooper@gmail.com (see profile) 09/20/17

  "Another informative topic on a very sad practice."by tnewman123 (see profile) 09/15/17

Our book club members had never heard of this awful part of adoption history. The story was good but a bit confusing with so many name changes within the characters. A good read and good discussion.

by mrietze (see profile) 09/15/17

by dianagraalum (see profile) 09/14/17

Well written

by rcarr3585@gmail.com (see profile) 09/12/17

This book was very informative on a period of time often overlooked in US History. The scandals and horrific events about traffic children. This is a great story with many struggles and underling themes.... (read more)

by pabmott19@gmail.com (see profile) 09/08/17

by coffeeandcakevp@gmail.com (see profile) 08/30/17

Great read! Interesting to learn facts of adoption & the Tennessee Children's Home Society in this era.

by stacy.steitz@gmail.com (see profile) 08/21/17

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