Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

  • Release Date: 2017-06-06
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 949 Ratings
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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 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 the dark truth. 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 to 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—Lisa 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.

*Library Journal

Praise for Before We Were Yours

“A [story] of a family lost and found . . . a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.” People

“Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you’ll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann’s legacy.” Parade

“One of the year’s best books . . . It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel.” The Huffington Post

“Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun


  • Before We Were Yours

    By 📚❤️
    Great story! Read it in 2 days. Couldn’t put it down!
  • One of my favorites!!!

    By chloen3
    I couldn’t put it down. It was finished within a week
  • A page turner!

    By njmobile
    Not only is this book based on a real historic event it is a page turner that I thoroughly enjoyed!
  • Amazing book

    By cat lady 03
    Compelling emotional story beautifully written couldn't put it down A journey worth taking
  • So good.

    By Rebrock67
    Sad but enthralling!!!
  • Great book

    By beachgmom
    Having been adopted at birth ( to wonderful loving parents) this past week I found my birth fathers family, knowing my birth mother for over 15 years my recent discover made this a full circle, while never experiencing any of the trauma the persons in this book had..... this book really touched home for me... whether adopted or not I feel it’s a great read....I also feel everyone has the right to know their “roots”.
  • Must read

    By Sweedp
    This book is an absolute must read. I could not put it down, and had to force myself to take time outs to get things done on my day off... Only to go right back to it anyway. The book is very well written, and also educational. I felt like I knew the characters myself, as the author did a splendid job in her character building. Very refreshing read!!
  • Don’t Miss This One

    By EventerNYC
    Beautifully told story that pulls and plays on every emotion. The author tells an amazing story and develops characters you really know.
  • Wonderful story

    By Shag29
    Excellent, couldn't put it down. Very believable.
  • A great read!

    By Tferrari
    Super good!!