Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Born into a world of wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all. A loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, with her own ambitious career as a lawyer and a handsome fiancé waiting for her in Baltimore, she has lived a charmed life. But when Avery returns to Aiken to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with May Bonher, an elderly woman she's never met before, leaves Avery deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about May's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history, illuminating the heart of Avery's story. Based on the true story of a system of orphanages that was ultimately deemed responsible for the kidnapping and selling of thousands of children in illegal adoptions, in this story Wingate has created a riveting, heart-wrenching read.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780425284681
Branch Call Number: FIC WINGA
Characteristics: 342 pages


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Oct 07, 2017

this book is a very complex though sometimes painful to read. I have loved all of lisa W ingates novels esp. tending roses and PRAYER box AND STORY KEEPER

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Oct 03, 2017

In the 21st Century, Avery meets May at a nursing home, and is immediately drawn to the old women’s story. Their story is interspersed with the story of Rill and her siblings living on the Mississippi River during the Great Depression. They are essentially kidnapped by a woman running an adoption scheme at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. There they are abused, separated, and forced to live in terrible conditions. Meanwhile, Avery is determined to figure out the relationship between her grandmother and May. I think the book would have been better if the Avery sections weren’t there. She is the daughter of a Senator, and she’s supposedly cosmopolitan and smart, but she seems to have zero understanding of how the world works. She thinks she discovered a secret that would completely ruin her family, but there is nothing about the secret that would reflect badly on the descendants of the people involved. The pacing of the story is off, with major events only being mentioned in passing. I would have liked a lot more details about the adult lives of the children taken by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. This book has a lot of similarities to Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein, but it isn’t anywhere near as good.

Oct 01, 2017

At the beginning, I did not realize how much this novel would grip me; but as the story unfolded I could not put it down. Rill and Avery are generations apart yet there is a strong link between them and a chance meeting leads to the unveiling of cruel injustice meted out to poor children in the 1930s in Tennessee. Avery believed that the truth always comes out sooner or later and she felt that one was better of knowing it at first. This is what prompted her to probe her grandmother's story. She finds out that not so many years ago orphaned or poor children were just chattel.

Sep 26, 2017

Very engaging book based on actual events. The story is told in two intertwined time-lines. I have had difficulty following and keeping up with some stories written this way. I did not with this one.
Very good - highly recommended.

Aug 13, 2017

A complex and moving story based on real-life atrocities that happened at the Tennessee Children's home between 1930-1950. Lisa Wingate is a first-rate storyteller and this book is no exception. I loved it!

Aug 09, 2017

I cannot believe this happened! I had so many emotions reading this book, as this was such a travesty of justice and then they (government) let it continue until Tann's death (??). I am not a history person, but books like this especially make me disgusted that no one had the decency to stand up and, at least, try to right this wrong while it was going on (not after the fact). The book was well written in that I could put myself in Rill's (May's) place and feel all of her emotions. I would definitely recommend this book.

Jul 04, 2017

Good historical fiction centered around the Tennessee Children's Home Society who from 1920-1950 illegally acquired babies and children and adopted them to new families for profit. The captivating story of 12 yr old Rill and her siblings gives us a look into the horrors of what some of these children experienced and the effect it had on their futures. Interesting and well written, this is another good one for historical fiction fans.

AL_MARYA Jun 13, 2017

Fans of Historical Fiction, make room on your summer reading list for Lisa Wingate’s new release. Before We Were Yours is a beautifully written and engaging story based on a tragic child brokering scandal that spanned decades (1920’s -1950’s) in Tennessee. Wingate’s book is eye-opening, heartbreaking and unforgettable.

debwalker Jun 03, 2017

When children could be bought. Could never happen now. Right? Dark family secrets surfacing. You will be verklempt!

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Sep 26, 2017

BRUCE PILCHER thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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AL_MARYA Jun 13, 2017

I clench my teeth so hard the pain travels all the way to the top of my head. I'm glad for it - it's just a little ache and I know where it comes from. I can stop it anytime I want. The one in my heart is way bigger. I can't fix it no matter how hard I try. It scares me so much that I can't even breathe.

"…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.


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