Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a heart-breaking story of children being stolen from their families, about abuse and danger, but also about hope and love and the feeling of belonging. It’s a captivating and emotional novel that tells a horrible story in a beautiful way.
This novel has two parallel storylines; one in 1939 and one is present day. In 1939, Rill Foss and her younger siblings are stolen from their poor Mississippi Shanty boat and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director Georgia Tann, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty. In present days Avery, the daughter of a prominent Senator, returns home to help her father through a health crisis, when a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history. From here, the two storylines slowly unravel and come together.
The narrative switches back and forth between Rill and Avery, telling the story from their different angles and giving us pieces to what happened to Rill and her siblings both in a linear way via Rill’s parts, but also in hindsight via the discoveries that Avery does in her parts. Both storylines pull on the heartstrings, but I loved Rill’s parts the most. I think the part of the story taking place in modern day had a bit too much of chick lit romance in it to truly be my cup of tea, but it still added so much to the story with the mystery plot.
Before We Were Yours is an important story about a real-life scandal that needs to be told, but it’s also a wonderful novel on its own merits. It’s a bittersweet book that pulls on your heartstrings, with a lot of sadness and terrible things happening, as well as a story about hope, love and survival and about the strength in family bonds that cannot be broken, no matter what. I highly recommend this novel!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Lisa Wingate