Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Every now and then a book comes along that just sears your soul. Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours is such a book. Based on the true story of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, this is a heartbreaking account of the Foss sisters -- snatched from their loving home while their parents were away and advertised as orphans, available for adoption to the highest bidder. While this is a work of fiction (and this is absolutely historical fiction at its finest), it is based on fact. Georgia Tann was a disgusting woman and I was so filled with anger and sadness at the things that these poor children suffered at her hands and the hands of others behind those walls. This is a difficult read but it is also a powerful testament to family, the bonds of sisterhood and the importance of knowing your history. The novel is told from alternating points of view, so we see things through the eyes of 12 year old Rill (one of the young girls taken by Georgia’s cronies in 1939) and Avery Stafford, a feisty federal prosecutor who is helping her ailing politician father manage his career in the present day. One afternoon while assisting her father, Avery has a chance encounter with an elderly woman at a nursing home that will ultimately lead Avery on a search that reveals unknown truths about her family. Before We Were Yours is a beautiful, heart wrenching, informative tale about a shameful time in our history when people looked the other way when it came to protecting the most innocent. It is also a story that extols the virtue that “The truth is still the truth. It has value.” Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for providing me with an advanced copy of this 5 star read in exchange for my honest review.