Before We Were Yoursby Published 06 Jun 2017
|Before We Were Yours.pdf|
Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.
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 that the truth is much darker. 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 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—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.
Before We Were Yours Reviews
I won this through one of my book groups 😊 Yay!
Wow! This book was really sad and had a happy ending at least. I had no idea this was a place and it breaks my heart 😢
This is written in the front of the book:
For the hundreds who vanished
and for the thousands who didn't.
May your stories
not be forgotten.
For those who help today's orphans
find forever homes.
May you always know the value
of your work
and your love.
This book is about the Foss children. They are fictional in the book but taken from real life stories. The stories of this horrible woman, Georgia Tann, who had children stolen from poor families and sold to rich families. Those that actually survived living at the Tennessee Children's Home Society. These kids were malnourished, raped. Jesus, I can't go on with all of the travisties.
You can google and find out tons of information
Here is a photo of the evil woman.
Here is a picture of a memorial to the hundreds of children who died. There are a lot of photos if you google.
That's all I have people. I just can't. I'm crying too much to write anything else.
Recommend to everyone.
This is 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—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.
The siblings were kidnapped and taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis, Tennessee. Miss Tann is an evil lady and controls all the decisions. The home is rotten to the core. The stories are sad and gruesome. Kids were brokened. Georgia Tann made money by charging huge fees for adoptions, transportation, delivery out of state. She took children from poor families and sold them to celebrities and people with political interest. She duped women in hospital maternity wards into signing surrender papers while they were still under sedation. She told people that their babies died when they hadn't. Miss Tann was such a monster, a very evil lady.
Georgia Tann did indeed facilitate the adoptions of children from the 1920's through the 1950's. Many of the children were not orphans. Many had loving parents who wanted tonraise them. The children were literally kidnapped in broad daylight and no matter how birth parents tried to fight in court, they were not allowed to win. The babies weren't given proper food or medical care. They were to weak and dehydrated to cry. They were tied to beds, and chairs, they were beaten, held under the bath water, and were molested. It was a house of horrors. In the end Georgia Tann died of cancer before before she could be forced to answer charges.
I thought the book was a little disturbing and heartbreaking. The book went back and forth to the past
and present. The past was the siblings earlier years and the horror they went through. The present was the siblings trying to find each other when they got older. I loved the earlier years the best. It was so emotional and heart breaking. I can't imagine how anyone could do these things to kids, but it happened. It was so awful. The Tennessee Children's home was a horror home. No child should have to go through what these children went through. The author did very well with the characters. She made them come to life. The siblings had a deep love for each other. My heart went out for them. I just adored the siblings, Lark, Fern, Gabian, Camellia, and Rill. I felt that Rill was the strongest one. Miss Tann was an evil lady, a monster.
This is an emotional, heart breaking book that will stick with me for a long time.
This was a Traveling Sister Read and enjoyed discussing it with them.
I don't read a lot of non fiction so I really appreciate when a novel can enlighten me on things that happened that I wouldn't have otherwise known about . As in Orphan Train when I first learned about their existence or in What She Left Behind, which highlights the atrocities of a mental institution and in particular the treatment of women, this story inspired by real events relays the sad story of a family torn apart by the greed and horrible acts against children and their families. The author explains in her note that the characters are fictional but the place and the circumstances and the woman who perpetrated these acts are real. In a recent interview Wingate described the seed for this story.
" A rerun of the Investigation Discovery: Dangerous Women cycled through at about two in the morning. I looked up and saw images of an old mansion. The front room was filled with bassinettes and babies. I tuned in and immediately became fascinated by the bizarre, tragic, and startling history of Georgia Tann and her Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. I couldn’t help but dig into the story. That was the spark that ignited Before We Were Yours." 5/29/17 in an interview on The Untold Story Guru.
The reality of what happened to numerous children from 1920 - 1960 is depicted through the story of five siblings taken illegally and subjected to the adoption for money system spearheaded by Tann. I said that the story is sad, but that's an understatement. It really is heartbreaking and though the characters are fictional, I couldn't help but think about the real children who were affected. There are past and present storylines that do come together and make for a captivating read. The Goodreads description provides more plot details, which I will leave out here and just say that I definitely recommend it. I can't quite give it 5 stars as I felt that the romantic thread in the current story diluted the story a bit for me . It didn't add to the importance in my opinion. Having said that, this is a worthy read, eye opening and heart wrenching with a thoughtful and satisfying ending.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group- Balllantine through NetGalley.
4 stars! Cover love!!!!
BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by LISA WINGATE is a heartbreaking, interesting, and a powerful Historical Fiction novel that was enlightening to read. This story was inspired by actual true life events about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society that was based in Memphis and the director Georgia Tann. This Memphis-based adoption organization was absolutely horrific in the way that they treated and exploited these children.
We thought that LISA WINGATE did a wonderful job at shedding light onto this story of how these children were exploited and of course, it was very heartbreaking and shocking to read about. Some of us didn’t even know that this horror even existed and went on for so long. Our heart broke for the children, parents and for the adoptive parents as well. Although, this story was based on true life stories the actual children that were portrayed in this novel were fictional.
LISA WINGATE delivers a well-researched and emotional story here with alternate timelines, one from the past which was told by a young girl named Rill who was taken from her parents along with her brother and three sisters and were brought to this horrible place. The present day story was told to us by an adult woman named Avery who is in search of learning the truth about her Grandmother’s past.
Out of the two storylines a few of us enjoyed the present day one a little bit more as we didn’t connect as much to the characters from the past story as we did to the present day ones. The children that were in this horror home they all seemed to blur together and we felt like we never really got to know them. We absolutely felt for the children in a whole though but all the horror just blended together. We felt we could see Rill's grief but we couldn't feel her grief. We could see that she wanted to go home to her parents but really couldn't feel her desperation. Some of us thought LISA WINGATE spent a little too much time on that and it created too much drama for some of us. For the others they really enjoyed both stories. We absolutely loved how the two stories came together in the end though.
Brenda and I read BEFORE WE WERE YOURS with four of our Traveling Sisters and we were split on how we felt about this one with some of us loving it much more. For Brenda and I we were split as well with me enjoying it somewhat more than what she did. Most of us agree this was our favorite kind of historical fiction however for a couple of us things didn’t quite work out as well for them.
To sum it all up it was an engrossing, moving, heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale that has definitely left us with a lasting impression. Would recommend!
All of our Traveling Sisters Review can be found on our sister blog:
An amazing,don't want to put down, hold the book in a big hug and wish this story never ended. Sigh* BUT....
This grabbed me from the get go. Two stories told simultaneously during 2 different time periods.
Avery's story, present day. She's an attorney who has met up with a woman in a nursing home who says she looks familiar. Curiosity starts to open this Pandora's box. Rill, a river rat, has been kidnapped along with her 4 siblings back in the 30's and sent to an orphanage to be sold to the highest bidder. Secrets are revealed that threaten to destroy a political family. Based on reality, which is disturbing in itself, I'm still left baffled. How does Judy fit in here? What did I miss?? I did have some wine while I was reading this but not during its entirety. I loved the writing, I didn't mind the romance but it could have been a great story without it.
4.5 ⭐️ and a big thanks to Jen M. for her sleuthing efforts for assisting me with the final piece of the puzzle!