Title: Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Ballantine Books
“Secrets ain’t a healthy thang, no matter how old they is. Sometimes the oldest secrets is the worst of all,” Avery is told in Lisa Wingate’s novel, Before We Were Yours.
~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-fifty-eight pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy historical fiction involving adoption, hidden pasts, and complicated family dynamics. Topics of child endangerment, abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.
In this story told in first person by two different people over seventy years apart, twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her younger siblings are violently uprooted in 1939 when their mother is rushed to the hospital to deliver a baby. Forced to live at the Tennessee Children’s Home, the sisters and brothers do all they can to stick together, but they each face one hardship and disappointment after another. Added in inserted current-day chapters, the engaged thirty-year-old Avery Stafford is drawn to a woman in a South Carolina nursing home who somehow has an old photograph of her aging grandmother. As Avery divulges into the past, she finds more than family secrets that change her and those around her.
~ Why ~
Learning about Georgia Tann and her adoption empire that included conning parents out of their children or taking them without permission for a profit, the book covers the heartbreak, loneliness, and fear from a child’s perspective and the siblings she deeply loves. I like how the chapters jumped from the past to present through two related women searching for hope.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like tragic tales related to orphans being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused may not want to read this one. Others may not relate to the existing political or societal norms of the South.
~ Who ~
A former journalist and speaker, Wingate is a national bestselling author who has won many writing awards.
~ Wish ~
With the ending being a little confusing, I wish there were more explanation that connected the siblings.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical fiction about life as a child in the infamous Tennessee Children’s Home that was run by Georgia Tann, this story shows how family love conquers all.
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Thanks to the author for this complimentary ARC book that I am freely reviewing.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.