Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

Lisa Wingate

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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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

Advance praise for Before We Were Yours

“[A] fantastic novel . . . Wingate is a compelling storyteller, steeping her narrative with a forward momentum that keeps the reader . . . engaged and curious.”Publishers Weekly

“Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power. That Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society could actually exist, unraveling the lives of countless children, stealing their pasts and changing their futures, will give you chills. But the real feat of this stirring novel is how deeply Wingate plunges us into the heart and mind of twelve-year-old river gypsy Rill Foss. 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

“An unforgettable read . . . This captivating novel will quite likely break your heart, but because it’s Lisa Wingate at the helm, you will not be left broken. She is a master storyteller and never fails to get to the heart of what makes us hold on to hope.”—Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life

“Lisa Wingate’s heart-racing tale of a family ripped apart by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society scandal rang so true I couldn’t sleep until I knew their fate.”—Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

Advance Galley Reviews

Unfortunately this book just didn't grab me, so I didn't complete it. There was nothing bad about the book, it's just not my typical genre.

A beautiful portrayal of lives altered by one corrupt and greedy woman. When I finish a book, I like to let the story sit with me overnight before I review it. Before We Were Yours took more than one evening. There is so much depth to this story, so much pain and sorrow. The bright spots in the novel don’t allow the reader to get fully dragged under. Based on true events surrounding Georgia Tann (who brokered children to the wealthy from the 1930s-1950s), Rill’s story is fictional but based on accounts of children who spent time in one of Tann’s homes. Rill’s story is heartbreaking. A twelve-year-old girl who assumes responsibility to her four younger siblings but can’t keep them all together despite her best attempts. A girl who has only known life drifting on rivers in her family’s shanty boat with parents too young to call Mom and Dad. A girl who has everything she loves about her life stripped away only to be forced into a nightmare that grows worse as the days spent apart from her family stretch. As Avery Stafford, a politician’s daughter whose life has been mapped out by her family, dives into the mystery present by a woman she meets at one of her father’s political appointments, she uncovers secrets long buried. Secrets that will make her take a hard look at her own life and future. While reading, I felt Rill’s heartache, her shame and guilt over not keeping her family together, and her desire to return to the life she once had. And I felt Avery’s tug of war between keeping her family happy and living a life that makes her happy. This story has a satisfying ending, though not exactly a happy one for everyone. It took me a bit to get into it but this is not unusual for me with Lisa Wingate’s stories. Probably because I tend to read more romances than anything, and while there was a hint of it in Before We Were Yours, the romance is not the heart and soul of this story. And just like every other book I’ve read written by this author, sticking with it was more than worth the payout. Note: This books is written for the ABA market but is a clean read. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

I don't much care for historical fiction usually, but this book swept me away. It's well written and the author really draws you into the characters' lives. Great read.

Lisa Wingate's "Before We Were Yours" is a well written and compelling tale overall. She does an amazing job of depicting the heartbreaking events of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. Rill's voice is authentic and captivating. However, I found the other main character, Avery, off-putting, annoying, and not at all sympathetic. She just seemed incredibly shallow. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the tale overall and recommend picking this one up. It's a vivid tale about an awful set of events that still comes to a satisfying, if not altogether, happy ending. I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

This book was one that I read in one sitting. I really connected with the characters. The way that the past and the present were threaded throughout the book made the story come alive. I could just picture the setting and the characters as they were in the late thirties to early nineteen forties. This was also a tearjerker, all of the siblings ripped from their parents as their mother was recovering in the hospital. What they go through as they are waiting to be sold to a wealthy family is just beyond sad, this is based on the real life scandal of Georgia Tann who stole poor children from their homes and sold them to wealthy families. May aka Rill is a strong character who tries her very best to keep her siblings together but only succeeds with one. Avery is from the present day and is just uncovering her grandmothers secret that is long buried. I thought that the story was so well written and very respectful to the subject matter. Avery seemed to do what is expected of her by her wealthy family most of her life. When she starts to unravel her grandmothers past Avery starts to come into her own. There is a bit of a romance but not too much to take away form the story. This story is one that has stayed with me since I put the book down. It was a very moving book. I look forward to reading more from this author.

I was completely blown away by this powerful and heart-wrenching story about family, love, perseverance, and loss! This novel was inspired by the horrifying true events of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, run by Georgia Tann from the 1920’s-1950’s. The plot is written from two points of view, weaving between past and present, this is the story of how one family’s past has shaped its present. Lisa Wingate’s writing is absolutely flawless. She pulls you deep into the lives of each character where you feel like you are inside the novel witnessing all these heinous events up close. Before We Were Yours is one of the best historical fiction books I have read to date, it will definitely stay with me for a very long time. If I could give this more than 5 stars I would - Highly recommend!

A compelling tale based on a true story, the author makes me wish I had grown up on the river. While times were tough on the boat, the family was close-knit and looked out for each other. The story of the children's time spent at the Tennessee Children's Home Society is tragic and it's horrifying to know that these acts actually occurred in the past. The author makes you feel for the children in their fear and uncertainty. It's hard to accept what these children endured, especially those like Camelia who refused to give up the fight and paid dearly for it. Although the kidnapping, abuse, and deaths are appalling, one hopes that the kids who were ultimately adopted by people with money were eventually able to leave a somewhat happy life and maybe even grow up in a better situation, although that is no excuse for what was done to them. As Rill/May's story unfolds (and that of Grandma Judy), it is calming to realize that the past was left behind to a large degree and that some good came out of the adoptions that took place for these children. Avery's story is a bit forced and hard to imagine Avery would have time to commit to this with her father's health issues and prior commitments, but it ably moves the plot along in a gentle way without too much disruption to the unveiling of May's story. The tale was wrapped up nicely and left me with a smile on my face.

This book was so good. So sad and daunting, yet heartfelt. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Before We Were Yours: Tragic with a touch of horrifying & heartfelt; it’s full of love, loss & perseverance. Lisa Wingate draws you in so close that you can imagine being there and witnessing the unspeakable things that took place in recent American history through the young lives of certain characters in the book; the consequences which changed lives forever and those responsible went unchecked by corrupt politics. This is one of the best historical fiction books I have read, every time I had to stop reading to deal with daily life I was left thinking about the characters and wanting to get back to it to see what was happening next in the story. The mystery that unfolds from the present to the past kept me wanting more. This book shows the horrors that poor children & their families endured at the hands of truly evil people pretending to do good all for their own financial or personal gain & how some of those that survived turned those things for good. I think events like this need to be remembered and the stories told so that history may never repeat itself; we owe it to all posterity. We must cherish our children because we never know where life may take them.

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. This book was so hard to read, in a good way. Beautifully written and tugs at all your heart strings. Horrifying that it is based on true events. 1939, Rill Foss and her four younger siblings are living along the Mississippi river with their parents when their mom is rushed to the hospital during a stormy night. Rill is left in charge but strangers come and forcefully drag them from their home. This story is based on the real events of Georgia Tann who kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families. Locked away into the Tennessee Children’s Home Society Orphanage the young Foss children don’t know what happened to their parents or what is about to happen to them. Generation later, Avery Stafford was born into wealth and privilege. Into a family that she thinks has no hidden skeletons. While at home putting in her public appearance at an elderly care facility she runs into a woman that mistakes her for someone else, that seems to think she know her family more than just their public name. Avery decides to look into the past a little more and starts uncovering a horrifying tale of the Foss family and what that means for her own family. As an adopted child, identity gets a bit muddled when you don’t know your family. As an adopted child part of a sibling set, all you have are the siblings that you may or may not get to stay with. I was lucky that most my siblings got to stay together. This story really reached home.

This story blew me away. Such an amazing read. It was a story based in fact about the terrors of Georgia Tann's reign in the Tennessee area ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s. This book brought about an awareness to the horrors that so many families went through during this time. Children were stolen from parents, placed in group homes where they experienced horrors no child should ever have to endure, and adopted these children out to the wealthy and privileged. The fact Tann was able to get away with this for 30 years just blows my mind. This story follows a girl and her siblings that were stolen from their home and placed in the Tennessee Children's Home Society. The story is written in alternating points of views, switching from past to present to bring this story together to end in a beautiful conclusion. I loved this story from beginning to end.

I would like to thank and Lisa Wingate for the ARC of "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate for my honest review. This is a book that i really liked and will remember, but it could have been great. Its still awesome, falls short of greatness and here's why. I loved loved the writing and fears of Rill Foss, trying to fend for her siblings, alone without parents. And i hated the alternate voice of Avery, especially when she gets all flirty with her male partner in her quest to find out what her grandmother's past holds. Past to present narration works for me mostly when both the characters are undergoing the same emotions. Imagine, here a child is being molested, kidnapped and trapped in a horror house of an orphanage, and your are jolted to present day flirting between two main leads. I strongly feel that the author could have either had the present day narrator face some turmoil of her own, or completed the Rill Foss arc, come to present day happy story, which gets darker as past secrets emerge. But all that said, this book is still a medium- to-heavy read which tugs your heartstrings. The author has captured the voice of a 12 year old Rill well. I hated the villains and rooted for the kids as the story progressed. It has a bittersweet ending, which I feel did justice to the entire plot, because life cannot have happy endings all around. Overall 3.5 stars for me and a weekend well spent :)

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and Lisa Wingate for the ARC (advanced reading copy) of "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate for my honest review. The genres of this novel are Women's Fiction and Historical Fiction. This story has fictional characters but is based on the true scandal with Georgia Tann and the Memphis Adoption home. Children were kidnapped, and disadvantaged parents would sign papers unaware that their children were being sold to wealthy families for profit. There were reported cases of abuse and deaths at this Adoption home. Georgia Tann had many top Politicians and the law by her side, depriving the children of their rights, and treating them as chattel The timeline and places for this story are in the past, 1939 in Memphis Tennessee, and in the present time in South Carolina. The characters are described as complicated and complex. Georgia Tann is described as evil, dangerous, manipulative, and corrupt. Most of the employees that worked for Georgia Tann turned a blind eye, and some were sadistic and were bullies. The author describes the children as innocent, frightened , scared, confused. Some of the children were brave and courageous. In "Before We Were Yours", Lisa Wingate tells the story about a family that lives in a shanty by the river.The mother is having a difficult time delivering twins, and has to be moved to get medical help. In the time that the parents are gone, the children are taken by the local law officials and placed in the Memphis Adoption Agency. I appreciate the way that Lisa Wingate writes about the hard times at the adoption home where the children are brought. I could feel my heart break at some of the parts in this story. The storytelling shifts between the past and the present. Avery is a prominent attorney part of a wealthy and politically active family. Her father is in a political high political position. One of the discussions they are in involve nursing homes, and how the elderly are treated. At one of the homes that they visit, an older resident calls Avery a different name, and insists that they know each other. This starts Avery on an adventure to discover her family and her self. I like the way the author writes about betrayal, loyalty, and secrets. The author also describes family, friends, trust, love and hope, The author makes me think, what is the cost for searching for the truth? How could this scandal go on for so long and cause the consequences that it did for many families and children? I would highly recommend this intriguing novel, and look forward to reading more from the author. There are some Kleenex moments.

I requested a digital Advanced Reader Copy of this title based on the description provided. It lived up to Jamie Ford's review and the description! I enjoy historical fiction, especially when it is well researched, well written and believable. This book certainly is all three. Set in the current day and in 1939 in North Carolina and Tennessee, related narrators relay the story of each time. It becomes clear they are most likely related, but as the present day narrator, Avery, unravels the information she is given, the relationship becomes clear. As a romance was hinted at for Avery, I was at first disappointed and did a bit of an eye roll, but was pleasantly surprised when it didn't sidetrack the story line or disrupt my enjoyment. As with good fiction, it left me wanting more and thinking about the characters next moves. As with good historical fiction, I wanted more factual information on the events outlined and a small amount of research clearly show the author's endnote truthfully relays the work she did to complete this novel. I highly recommend it! With thanks to Ballantine Books and Lisa Wingate for the Advanced Reader Copy.

This is the best book I have read in recent memory. Lisa Wingate’s writing flows beautifully, and she weaves her story brilliantly. The pacing was just perfect, and it really allowed me to understand everything that was going on even as the story jumped between the 1930s and the present day. The story kept me on my toes, as I was constantly trying to figure out the true identities of the various characters in the story and connect the state of things in the 1930s with the way things are in the modern day world of the story. I won’t spoil the ending either, but it was a beautiful conclusion that really wrapped up everything about the story in the same way it probably would if the story had occurred in real life (and it had, since Wingate’s novel is based on the horrifying true story of Georgia Tann’s Tennessee Children’s Home Society). This story might do well to have a content warning, though, as there are some descriptions of sexual assault (mostly non-graphic, but still possibly triggering for some). I do highly recommend this book; it is one that I will truly not forget for a long time.

This was a lovely story that wrapped genealogy, with the question of are we who we are because we're the product of our genetics/ family history or do we turn out this way after the circumstances we overcome and the lives we lived? This was a step outside of my usual genre of choice (thrillers + suspense) but on a quiet rainy Saturday it captured my attention and the story warmed my heart. I highly recommend this for readers of historical fiction & those of us who've taken the Ancesrty DNA test. Thank you Penguin Random House for selecting me for this special ARC review opportunity.

One thing that makes a well written story better is when it is based on true events. This book has it all, a good plot,believable characters that one can easily identify with, and an ending that doesn't disappoint.

This story of a very crooked Tennessee Children's Home Society needs to come with a warning of some kind. I'm enjoying the story but I feel you should be warned something terrible happens at one point and even though it's not exactly described you get the jest. I've never heard of Lisa Wingate until I saw this book on First To Read and the description drew me in. I'm glad and honored to be able to review as I'm loving this free flowing writing style. The balance of all the main players is wonderful and fast paced makes you want to stay up and read. First you have Avery Stafford a young woman who is strong in her career but has come home to take care of her dad a very prominent senator fighting cancer and she might possibly be stepping up into his shoes. Then you have May Weathers a frail (or so it seems) old woman in a nursing home. Their paths meet one day in a nursing home where the senator and his daughter are helping celebrate a birthday and putting on a strong front to investigate some issues. May runs into Avery swiping a family heirloom in a bracelet from her grandmother Judy. As they get to know each other Avery uncovers the shocking past that connects May and grandma Judy. Will this scandal come to light and how will it effect all involved.? I greatly encourage you to read this wonderfully written, heart-wrenching tale but be warned there may be some upsetting innuendos.

Like THE ORPHAN TRAIN, author Lisa Wingate builds a novel from the bones of history and puts together a very compelling book. She creates a mystery for protagonist Avery, who sets out to uncover a family secret that would remain hidden due to her grandmother's senility. Interwoven within this narrative is the tale told by Rill Foss, who is early shown to be the same old woman Avery knows as May. Readers are given enough insight early on to understand much of the connection between May and Avery's grandmother, and the pleasure in reading the novel comes from following along as Avery discovers those same facts. There is a great deal of heartstring tugging as Rill struggles to survive the ordeal of being kidnapped by the Tennessee Children's Home baby snatchers. Like the Catholic Church running the mother and baby homes in Ireland, there was a booming market for adoptable children during the 1930's through the 1950's. The same theme runs through BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, as Rill struggles to keep her siblings with her, only to watch them torn away in adoption. We have some sexual tension, of course, between Avery and the grandson of the man who made it his life's work to find lost siblings. Additional friction exists between the young lady and her mother, a dispute over proper place and future plans in a powerful, wealthy, politically prominent family. The story is well told and thoroughly enjoyable, right down to the happy ending that isn't overly saccharine.

A heartbreaking, but heartwarming story of family, love, and loss. Hard to believe those horrors happened in the not so distant past, and that poor children were stolen from their homes and placed into more well-to-do families.

This was such a great heartfelt story! I felt myself drift into the story and live through the good and bad with Rill. The tears came many times. I loved it!

Thank you for the advanced reader's copy of this incredible book! I really enjoyed this book. It is the story of a family - two families really - that unfolds over three generations. It is by turns sweet, sad, heartbreaking and triumphant. The characters are likable and the story, even though it goes back and forth between places and time periods, is easy to follow. Not only is it an enjoyable read, but because it also touches on the subject of politics, illness, elder care, & some of the more disturbing history of foster care and adoption, it is an important book as well. 4.5 stars!

Thank you First To Read for an advanced copy of Before We Were Yours written by Lisa Wingate. What an outstanding book! Five stars! Have to say, this book kept me reading way past my bedtime! I could not put it down and when I was not reading it, I was thinking about it! Beautiful writing, captivating characters and great historical fiction! I cannot rave about this book enough! This story is based on the Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal, which was run by Georgia Tann. Children were stolen/taken from their birth families, from hospitals after birth (marked as still birth), front porches, and trickery (falsifying documents). Once taken, children were place in boarding houses with terrible living conditions and abuse where sickness, malnutrition and death occurred. This story focuses on three generations who's lives intertwine. From a well off family with political power to a lowly family that lives on the river. This author alternates between the past and the present, quite effortlessly. The mystery and suspense heighten all the way to the ending of the story. It is quite fascinating how these character's lives were connected. A definite MUST READ! Loved every moment of this suspense, romance, mystery, political and historical fiction read!

A heartbreaking novel about the historic, 1950 Tennessee Children’s Home Society scandal where children were tricked and stolen from their mothers who were either poor, mentally ill, unwed, illiterate or ill and stored in an abusive orphanage until being sold to wealthy and often, famous people. Our story follows three generations of children from a once happy, large family of Mississippi river gypsies whose lives were horribly disrupted by the agency in 1939, until the present. Well developed characters, secrets, dementia, romance, suspense and more.....all present in this powerful and absorbing book.

I had never heard of the historical incidents that inspired Wingate to write this story, and I think the author deserves credit for tackling such a heavy subject. The novel hits the right balance between sentiment and realism without delving into the maudlin or moralizing tone that a story involving child neglect and abuse is susceptible of. However, for a story about children, most of the child characters in this novel came off rather flat. Only May and Camellia, really leaped off the page for me. Plus, I am not usually a fan of having an entire story told through alternating past and present points of view. Some of the drawbacks to an approach like this include constantly breaking the flow of both narratives, as well as revealing too much of the plot's trajectory too soon, thereby undercutting all of the mystery of a story. Before We Were Yours is guilty of both. Within the first fifty pages or so, many of the crucial discoveries that drive the modern characters of the story are already strongly foreshadowed to the reader from a mile away. As a result, I found myself struggling to invest in Avery's story. Still, the events that Wingate sets out retell in a convincing and intriguing new way are what ultimately allow the novel to earn its stripes.

Lisa Wingate uncovers horrific, tragic events and a real life crime scandal from the 1930's, which eventually leads to an unbelievable, heart-warming reunion. This historical journey merges past with present as the story alternates between two strong narrators. Rill Foss, the 12-year-old protagonist of the past, tells how she and her four siblings were snatched from their home on a Mississippi River shanty boat. They were turned over to the Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society, where poor children were sold to wealthy families. Rill and her siblings suffered shocking abuse, mistreatment and horrors while there. Viewing parties were held where the youngsters were dressed up and forced to be paraded before wealthy adults who paid absorbent amounts of money to adopt these helpless victims, and the real parents never knew what had happened to their kidnapped children. Avery Stafford, a 30 year old single federal prosecutor, narrated the present events. While visiting a nursing home, Avery has a chance encounter with May Crandall, an elderly resident. The mystery unfolds as a connection is revealed between May and Avery's Grandma Judy. The author creatively intertwines the past with the present. I was fascinated and moved with the absorbing back and forth narration as the protagonists' stories merge. The intriguing journey and mystery made this book a page turner and compulsive read.

Thank to First To Read for an advance copy of this book for an honest review. I absolutely loved this book. I don't read many historical fiction books because they often seem to be more of a history lesson and less of a novel. This is a great novel with the truth of history as its backdrop. What happened at the Tennessee Children's Home is horrific. It is hard to believe a place like this not only existed but thrived. The author does an outstanding job of building the characters of these individuals from children to adults. It is a story about a family who is taken from their home, 4 girls and one boy and put into the TN Children's Home and sold to the highest bidder. The lady that runs the facility, Georgia Tann doesn't give a flip about any of these children, they are just something for her to profit from, and she doesn't care what the people who buy them do to these children. Some children are lucky and are adopted by wealthy families, other children are very unlucky. The author fortunately doesn't spend a lot of time sharing the horrendous details of some of the children but she does tell that these things did happen. For anyone who has older parents or are older yourself will appreciate the story from the perspective of aging, nursing homes, Alzheimer's, family and secrets being revealed. There is also young Avery who is one of the main characters, she grew up in a wealthy home and knows she has had advantages in life. She is seeking her own truth of what is important in life, as well as figuring the mystery of how her grandmother fits into another older women's life in a different nursing home, where the women notices Avery's bracelet and confiscates it for herself. It is a heart warming story, a story of overcoming obstacles, perseverance and personal growth. Read it!

The story about the travesties surrounding the Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society run by Georgia Tann.The children are mistreated and adopted out illegally. May, one of five children from a river shanty boat thrown into the Home who suffers loss and horrible conditions Even though they were adopted, the sisters meet later but decide to keep their relation secret from their families. Avery, Judy's granddaughter finds an unfamiliar photograph in her grandmother's care room and starts digging into the past eventually leading to the sisters secrets. Avery's revelation has her family reeling and deciding to protect the secret from fear of scandal versus the happiness of two senior ladies' remaining time. Recommend. as a entertaining insight to an historic event

This is such an engaging book. I had heard of the Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal but Lisa Wingate's story made the reality of the nightmare that the children and families of those children lived through. It also is a story of love keeping hope alive even in the darkest times. A reminder and a memorial to the children and families devastated by Georgia Tann and the system that allowed her to operate for any amount of time...may it never be repeated.

(I received this ARC from Penguin Books and the First to Read program in exchange for my honest review) ????? I could NOT put this book down. The summary alone was intriguing, but the actual story contained within these pages was so much more. The characters were incredibly well developed and the plot line never slowed down. I found myself thinking about the characters in this book when I wasn't reading about them. I woke up thinking about them and wanting to know what was going to happen next. I found myself entangled in the emotions portrayed in the way Lisa Wingate writes and felt as if I was a part of the story. Lisa Wingate has taken a truly tragic piece of history and written an incredible work of fiction interlaced with truth that makes you want to learn more about the history, but also not want the story to end. I would highly recommend this book, especially for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I look forward to reading more of Lisa Wingate's work in the future

This is a powerful, emotional, and riveting story. It's a chilling tale filled with unimaginable horrors. This book is based on a true story about Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society. It is incomprehensible how so many people allowed these atrocities to take place, and they continued to allow it for so long. The characters were not all real, but they were based on real people. The things that happened in that home are unspeakable. This story is mesmerizing. It is very well written. I had to keep reading to find out more. The fact that she never faced justice for her horrendous behavior is appalling. This book has made me want to find out more about the real story. Money bought these kids and their families so much pain. It is still true today that people with money, power, fame, and privilege do these things and get away with it. The characters in this story just pull you in, and they don't let go, even after the book is finished. This book has drawn attention to something that I have never heard about, but is something we all should know. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this book. I am thankful to the author for writing this story. Mostly I am so very heartbroken for the kids and families that had to endure such deplorable treatment.

This is a book that has stayed with me long after I read the last page. Although it was sad and heartbreaking, it showed how deep love can break a person or cause a person to be strong and rise to the challenge. This wasn't my normal genre, but I'm so glad I read it. I learned a history lesson in addition to reading an unforgettable novel.

This book absolutely deserves a five star rating. It is outstanding! It hooked me in the first paragraph and I could not lay it down until the very last sentence was read. It has a lot of sadness but also showcases the strength of even children when put in deplorable situations. There is some history to be learned here also about theTennessee Childrens Home Society. This was real and was run by Georgia Tann from 1930 to 1950 in Memphis Tennessee. The children that were adopted from there were sometimes stolen from the side of the road, from their front porches, and even from hospitals right after their birth. Their living conditions were horrible and many of them died. In this story five siblings were stolen from a boat they lived on with their parents and taken to this home to live. The story goes from there to modern day time and tells what happened to each of them and how it affected them and their extended families. The author has written this in beautiful, descriptive prose describing the Carolina low country in all its splendor. This is a truly wonderful book and if you like Pat Conroy you will love it.


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