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Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by Lisa Wingate


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THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT—A New York TimesUSA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly 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

Publishers Weekly’s #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017  Winner of the Southern Book Prize  If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection 

“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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425284704
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 13
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Wingate lives in the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Before We Were Yours"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Lisa Wingate.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Before We Were Yours 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 315 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read? It is a fictional story of an incident in history that I was unaware of, and clutched my heart with the agony these children went through. I got angry, I cried and I cheered. This book has it all, without the sex and bad language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books this summer! I love fiction based on fact. Well written. Won't disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being from Memphis, I have always been interested in the story of Georgia Tann and the children adopted through the Tennessee Children's Home Society. The author took this very real backdrop and created characters who were based on the many real stories of adoptees and thier families. Loved all of the characters, amazing story. Loved this book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enlightenment to the world of adopted children during the depression
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW!!! Hard to put down, excellent writing and very moving.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best stories I've read. Wonderfully written and so easy to become a part of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ingeniously woven together stories, one from the past and one from the present. Curiosity keeps one reading to discover how they relate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this Book. I couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read and Take a Barnes $10 Off coupons code from
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fits quite well into society today. Sadly enough. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As stated, the historical portion of the story was phenominal. The characters came to life quickly, and compelled me to keep reading. Sadly, much of the current day tale is written quite poorly and reads like a tired beach novel. It was hard to believe in the current day cast. Many times I fought with myself to read on, despite the sheer stupidity of the characters. It was almost too much to skip back and forth between a histrorical novel which was so well written and compelling and a cheap novel which was anything but. I give a four star review because overall the book is fascinating and well worth reading. Just got to get through the parts that are not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It wasn't so long ago...unbelieveable, awful period of time for our children... Glad for the sweet ending! Our seniors deserve so much more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. Horrifying and inspiring at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Easy, absorbing read about a tragic and so sad chapter in American history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a full time student with two jobs, five children, and a new husband. I rarely have time to read for leisure anymore but I could not put this book down. I read it in 24 hours and was sad when I was finished with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So well written, could put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting book. Been telling all my friends to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a stay up all night reading, don't forget the kleenex, bittersweet story expertly told! Tugs at the heartstrings, breaks your heart and warms the soul. Simply a wonderful read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully told tale of the fallout from an historical scandal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was such a great read. I sat down and devoured it in one day! I loved Ms. Wingate's writing style. I was invested in each of the characters and couldn't wait to see where the story would go. I will definitely seek out more of the author's books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful sad/happy story. Writing was great kept the reader engaged and brought the characters to life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldnt put it down