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Before We Were Yours: Book summary and reviews of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate X
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2017
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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.

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Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Before We Were Yours alternates between the historical story of the Foss Children and the modern-day story of Avery Stafford. Did you have a favorite between these storylines? Which one and why?
  2. Many families have been touched in some way by adoption and foster care. Is adoption or foster care in your family history? If so, how did that affect your thoughts about the journey of the Foss children and about Avery's excavation of her family history?
  3. When the sisters were initially reunited, they decided to keep their history to themselves rather than telling their families. Do you agree or disagree with this decision? What do you think the implications would have been if they had gone public? Do you think family secrets should remain ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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...Rill's utterly singular voice will stay with you long after the last page is turned, as will Wingate's courage to follow her anywhere...Vivid and affecting." - Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun

"A powerful tale of family, of sisters, of secrets kept and secrets shared. I absolutely loved this book. I'm still basking in the afterglow, in shock at the true-crime elements, in awe at the journey of these characters who seem to have immortal souls." - Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

The information about Before We Were Yours shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Lisa Wingate

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.

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