Before We Were Yours
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
"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...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
The siblings were kidnapped and taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis, Tennessee. Miss Tann ...more
"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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
“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 I did, deserves nothing less than the ...more
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.
"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 ...more
This book begins in Memphis in 1939 when twelve year old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings a ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
This was an enjoyable group read with the traveling sisters: Brenda, Norma, Berit, Marialyce, and Mary. The Sister's excellent blog with this review and others can be found at:
The background: This book is based on the real life events that happened at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, an adoption agency is Memphis, TN, operated by Georgia Tann. The agency was a front for a black market adoption scheme in the 1920s. Ms. Tann woul ...more