Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate ~ Review

My Review:

I don't usually pay much attention to best sellers lists, but Lisa Wingate is an author that I was mildly aware of and I kept hearing rave reviews from all of my friends. I was intrigued. So I went to my local library and checked it out. This book wrecked me. It explores the dark history of modern adoption through the eyes of children who survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society ran by the now infamous Georgia Tann.

In the modern day, Avery Stafford is political royalty, her father is a much respected senator with secretly failing health, and she is being groomed to continue his legacy. But when Avery meets a woman named May while visiting a nursing home, that encounter sets her on a quest to find out the truth of her family's history.

1939, Rill Foss at 12 yrs old is the oldest of 5 siblings, they make a living on the river. When her mother's life is on the line while delivering twins, Rill and her siblings are taken to the Tennessee Children's Home Society, lured by promises of being reunited with their parents, but as the days drag on that they realize that they have become a part of something much darker.

Rill is the oldest of her siblings, and she holds herself responsible to keep them safe. She is cautious and will do anything to care for her siblings. Mature beyond her years, she is forced to make decisions and tread carefully. I admired her quick wit, mixed with compassion and selflessness.

In the modern day Avery struggles to find her voice amidst the pressures of her high profile family and her looming wedding to fellow political-powerhouse-in-the-making, fiance. She welcomes the diversions of discovering the truth behind an old photograph, leading her to a small community, realtor Trent Thompson. I really liked Avery, for her drive, her heart for others, and desire to break through the glossy deceptiveness of appearance to fight for something real.

This book is a heartbreaking story of family in its many forms, through the losses and additions, and the love that holds them together. Well researched, this book realistically brings the horrors of Georgia Tann's despicable operation to life in this heart-wrenching story, that despite the darkness still shines with a strong message of hope. I can't recommend this book enough, I learned so much about the state of adoption during the 1930s and 40s, and the dichotomy of Georgia Tann's legacy.  Absolutely deserving of all the acclaim, and well worth the read. This story stuck with me long after the final page was turned. 

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