Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.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 arriv...

Details Before We Were Yours

TitleBefore We Were Yours
Release DateJun 6th, 2017
PublisherBallantine Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews Before We Were Yours

  • 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 paci...
  • 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 go...
  • Melissa ♥ Dog 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 valueof your work and your love.This book is about the Foss children. The...
  • 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 organization th...
  • 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 t...
  • Lindsay
    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 ha...
  • 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 F...
  • 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 hor...
  • 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 a...
  • Mary Beth
    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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • PorshaJo
    Rating 3.5OK, 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 tol...
  • 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...
  • Cheri
    PRELUDEBaltimore, 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...
  • Norma
    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 thou...
  • 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 horrif...
  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    3.5 starsThis 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 ...
  • 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....
  • 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 pow...
  • 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.
  • Dorie
    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...
  • 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 ...
  • Jan
    This was such a good story! A wonderful historical fiction! Very compelling and lovingly written!"A woman's past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she chooses. Her own music."Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a powerful, heart-wrenching story that sheds light on the true story of the horrific child-brokering scheme of Georgia Tann, and The Tenneessee Children's Home Society from the early 1930s to 1950s. Families we...
  • Reading.Between.Wines
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 / 5 rounded up to 5🌟 for Goodreads. My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at https://readingbetweenwinessite.wordp... ____________________________________________________________Utterly heartbreaking. I don't usually read a ton of historical fiction, but I heard so many good things about Before We Were Yours that I had to pick it up from my local library when I saw it on our Lucky Day shelf. I'm so...
  • Liz
    3.5stars, rounded upI am a huge fan of historical fiction. This one tells an engaging tale of poor children stolen from their families and sold to the wealthy. It’s based on the real life Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The first story is told from the perspective of one family of children taken in 1939 with a secondary story from the modern day of a woman trying to make sense of a chance encounter. This back and forth nature gives the fee...
  • JanB
    3.5 stars, rounded upThis 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:https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....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 ...
  • Dianne
    This book totally surprised me - completely engrossing and much, much better than I expected.This is historical fiction based on Georgia Tann and the notorious Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage. If you've never heard of Georgia Tann, she basically stole children from poor families in the South and sold them to rich families in the 1920's to 1940's. Joan Crawford, Mary Pickford, and Dick Powell and June Allyson were just a few of...
  • Margitte
    A spectrum with two sides. I mirror with two faces. The mirror had a name, the spectrum a perspective: The Tennessee Children's Home Society. Two time periods: - There is the southern grit lit side: The Foss family. Memphis. 1939. As the old woman told it: “I was born on the Mississippi River in a shantyboat my father built. Queenie was my mother and Briny was my father. I had three little sisters, Camellia, Lark, and Fern, and a brother, Gabio...