BOOK REVIEW: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Title: Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
Publication: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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.


This book was recently chosen for my book club book.  While I don’t think that it was the book the I necessarily voted for, I was excited to read it because it seemed like something that I would read.  I couldn’t wait to read it.  

Avery is the daughter of a predominate Senator in the Carolinas.  She is one of the aides that help him.  When she sees a photo of a woman that looked remarkably like her Grandmother Judy on one of the resident’s bedside stand in the nursing home she was visiting.  The rest snowballs from that one picture.  I will admit right off the bat that it took me probably about 4 weeks to read this book.  It felt like a chore to read.  I would read a few chapters a day then move on to something else.  While I did enjoy the storyline the back and forth between the two characters drove me nuts.  I would just get into the story of Avery then suddenly I would get whisked away into Rill/May’s story.  

While the storyline was gripping and kept me somewhat interested in the way the book was written was choppy and annoying.  There were too many descriptive wording to say something that could be said in about half the words.  I do want to learn more about this Tennessee Children’s Home Society.  I find it appalling that the families were split apart in that fashion.  While I only gave this book three stars for some of the things that really bothered me I am still including it in the Top 10 book round-up that I am writing.  I thought that the story was compelling and once I got past the first half of the book, I actually wanted to find out what happened next.


Pick up your copy of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Also make sure to check out more from author Lisa Wingate on her website HERE.

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2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

  1. I couldn’t disagree more about this review. I think it was the best book I’ve read in 5 years. Instead of 4 weeks I probably read it in 3 days. Pick it up, you won’t be sorry.

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