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Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa…
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Before We Were Yours: A Novel (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Lisa Wingate (Author)

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1731868,650 (4.51)2
Member:stoutlibrary
Title:Before We Were Yours: A Novel
Authors:Lisa Wingate (Author)
Info:Ballantine Books (2017), Edition: First Edition, 352 pages
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Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate (2017)

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Oh so sad!!! This is a great book!! Its incredible to find out that this is historical fiction! ( )
  LASMIT | Sep 2, 2017 |
BEFORE WE WERE YOURS
LISA WINGATE

MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
PUBLISHER Ballantine Books
PUBLISHED June 6, 2017
NARRATOR Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is a thought-provoking and masterfully-told story of a family torn apart by one unscrupulous woman.

SUMMARY
In Memphis 1939, 12 year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live happily on her family’s Mississippi River shanty boat called the Arcadia. But one stormy evening Rill’s father has to rush her pregnant mother to the hospital. In the morning Rill spots a policeman on the river bank approaching the boat. She doesn't know what to do. Ultimately she is left with no decision but to take her siblings and go with the policeman. They are thrown into the hand of Georgia Tan and the Tennessee Children's Home Society and their lives were never the same.

In Aiken, SC 2016, Avery Stafford, a successful federal prosecutor has returned home to help her father, a U. S. senator weather a health crisis. Avery was born into wealth and privilege and is engaged to her handsome childhood friend. A chance encounter with a women resident at a nursing home has her curiosity bubbling. When she asks her Grandma Jane about the mysterious woman, she hears the name Arcadia for the first time. But what is Arcadia, a place, a person or something else? Avery is compelled to find if there is a connection between her family and this lonely woman in the nursing home.

REVIEW
Everyone should read this book to ensure we all learn from the mistakes of the past. This story is fiction, but is based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals. Georgia Tann, who was director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country from the 1920-50’s. LISA WINGATE’s writing is fabulous and the story which she has creatively woven is both gut-wrenching and riveting. Reading BEFORE WE WERE YOURS is like floating in the rushing currents of the Savannah River, it’s fast and fabulous. It’s a book you will be thinking about long after you turn the last page. Make sure you read the author note at the end too! It’s powerful and maddening!

I listened to the Audible version of the book and the narrators Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber were superb and gave breath to the story. ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Aug 18, 2017 |
Historical fiction done right can be a fascinating read. This was done right, with well developed characters, excellent time line switches and what a connection at the end. This horrendous story of child snatching, murder, greed and abuse is not all dark there is good even in the darkest moments.
Rill one of 5 children taken from their parents riverboat in the 1930's while their mother and father rush to a Doctor when she's in a difficult labor. Rill clings to hope that her father and mother will come rescue her, while watching in hopelessness as her siblings slowly disappear. Current time Avery, a lawyer from a political family stumbles into a woman who grabs her bracelet and open's pandoras box into a dark time and some ugly truths.
Watching these two time lines slowly come together was heartbreaking at times and heartwarming at others. The strength to survive and flourish is so strong. the loses so horrifying. I wanted to step back into time and stop The Children's Home Society and strangle Georgia Tann. ( )
  TheYodamom | Aug 12, 2017 |
"Before We Were Yours" tells a horrifying story based Georgia Tann and The Tennessee Children's home which she used as a mean for child trafficking starting from the Depression era through 1950 when she died. Through a dual timelines one starting in 1939 and current day the author tells the tale that connects a dynastic American political family, to the 9 children of a impoverished family of river folk who were stolen away from their parents, how they were separated and how they fought to be reunited. Ms. Wingate paints an extremely realistic portrayal of how actual children were taken from their families and sold as property while authorities were either corruptly involved or chose to look the other way. Masterfully "Before We Were Yours" hurdles the reader through the historical ugliness of the past and current day and subtly questions character of any society that turns it's back on or take advantage of it's weakest and least powerful members whether they be children, the elderly, the disabled, or the poor. This is my first experience reading Ms. Wingate's work and I was thoroughly impressed by this powerful story and look forward to diving into the author's back list. ( )
  Jessica.Leigh | Aug 8, 2017 |
Before We Were Yours: A Novel, Lisa Wingate, author, Catherine Taber, narrator
Based on a horrific truth in our history, this is a story that vacillates between heartbreaking and hopeful. It begins in 1939 with Rill Foss narrating her family history and ends in the present day with Avery Stafford telling her family’s story. It is based on the crimes and cruelty of the very real Georgia Tann and her involvement with the Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. According to the author “Georgia Tann was once heralded as the “Mother of Modern Adoption” and was even consulted by Eleanor Roosevelt on matters of child welfare.” Truth is often stranger than fiction!
The early story is about the Foss family: Briny, Queenie, Rill, Lark, Fern, Camellia, and Gabion. The oldest was Rill who was 12. The youngest was Gabe who was 2. Rill was in charge of keeping all of them safe when their dad Briny took their mom Queenie to the hospital to deliver her twins. At that time, the children were all spirited away, basically kidnapped by the police who were working with Georgia Tann. Their parents were tricked into giving them up, unaware that the papers they signed in the hospital gave up their rights to them. The year was 1939 and for the next several decades, each of their lives traveled in different directions. They were taken to an orphanage, eventually adopted and separated. Because the story is based on facts, on a cruel hoax that was actually perpetuated by someone who stole children and made money basically selling them for adoption to wealthy and/or famous people, it steals the heart of the reader. Georgia Tann’s prominence kept the truth about her adoption scheme from coming out for at least three decades, from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. The cruelty to which the children were subjected often resulted in tragedy. They were fed poorly, treated very unkindly, often abused in the most awful ways and punished unmercifully, except on those occasions when they were cleaned up and paraded out for adoption. The stories about their backgrounds were made up out of whole cloth, and their names were changed to prevent them from being traced and retaken by their birth parents. Hospital staff and law enforcement was often in collusion with her. Records were sealed to prevent the discovery of the truth. Oddly enough, some of the children were actually rescued from abusive homes and many of the stolen children did relatively well in later life, in spite of what they experienced; some were adopted by decent families, some by prominent families; but some also suffered in their new environments. Some achieved an education and life they would not have otherwise been able to, but nothing can change the fact that they were basically kidnapped and ransomed to strangers leaving their families in despair.
The present day story takes place when Avery Stafford meets May Crandall in a nursing home. She is struck by the difference in the level of care that her grandmother receives in another facility, but pleased that this place is well staffed and well maintained. When May mistakes her for someone else, the wheels begin to turn that lead to the discovery of her grandmother’s secret past. Although she is warned to let sleeping dogs lie, in order to protect the reputation of her father, a Senator up for reelection, and her own political future, she keeps trying to unravel the mystery. When she does, it changes her life’s path in almost as dramatic a way as that of the Foss children after leaving the Arcadia. Her investigation uncovers the story of the Foss children and her family’s involvement and connection to their lives. Will the ramifications of uncovering the truth be worth it?
I have read some reviews that said the author missed the mark in some aspects of the book, but I can't help feeling that those reviews may have been written by men who identify with books on a different emotional level. I felt totally immersed in the lives of all the characters and felt as if I knew each and every one on a personal level. The audio narrator portrayed each voice authentically and with just the right amount of accent and emotion. I highly recommend this website for further very enlightening information.
http://www.randomhousebooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Before-We-Were-Yours-... ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jul 11, 2017 |
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Epigraph
"Did you know that in this land of the free and home of the brave there is a great baby market? And the securities which change hands...are not mere engraved slips of paper promising certain financial dividends, but live, kicking, flesh-and-blood babies."  ---FROM THE ARTICLE "THE BABY MARKET, The Saturday Evening Post, February 1, 1930
"They are, [Georgia Tann] said repeatedly, blank slates. They are born untainted, and if you adopt them at an early age and surround them with beauty and culture, they will become anything you wish them to be."  ---BARBARA BISANTZ RAYMOND, The Baby Thief
Dedication
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.
First words
My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon.
Quotations
It's funny how what you're used to seems like it's right even if it's bad.
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 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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425284689, Hardcover)

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 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 that the truth is much darker. 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 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—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.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 03 Jan 2017 19:09:35 -0500)

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