Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Dear Bookworms,

On a total whim (or perhaps momentary insanity?) I joined a bookclub (insert gasp here).

I know it probably shouldn’t be a surprising action considering my love of reading and the fact that I write about books weekly on a blog BUT I am such a socially anxious person in new situations this was waaaaay out of my comfort zone.

All that to say, this weeks read is courtesy of my new bookclub which was all in all, a really good read!

In Memphis, TN 1939, 12 year old Rill Foss lives the river life aboard her boat home, The Arcadia, with her four younger siblings and parents. Traveling up and down the Mississippi River, the family doesn’t have much but what they do have, fierce love and loyalty for each other, runs deep. When Rills mother experiences complications during her pregnancy and is whisked away to a hospital she is told to mind her siblings until her parents return in a few days. The very next morning Rill and her siblings are whisked away by police and placed under the care of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. They are placed in an orphanage with a cruel mistress. Afraid, alone, and suspicious of the homes promises to reunite her with her parents, Rill fights to keep her siblings safe and together.

In present day South Carolina, Avery Stafford has returned home to help her Senator father as he recovers from a health scare. Her seemingly idillyic life has shadows cast upon it as a chance encounter with an elderly woman at a nursing home leaves her with nagging questions about her life and her family that Avery cannot let go of until she gets answers. Answers with the potential to destroy the perfect image her family has taken generations to establish.

In a word, this book was stellar.

Told in alternating perspectives from alternating time lines, this book was just the perfect balance of historical fiction and mystery. Rill and Averys stories are very masterfully woven together in a away that kept me guessing and thinking and wondering until the very end. While Rill and Averys stories are fictional, they mirror thousands of real children’s stories from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. After finishing this read, I of course had to Google all about the infamous Georgia Tann, the organizations director (also a character in the book) and was so heartbroken to think about the families torn apart, children stolen, abused, and sold for profit to the highest bidder. It really was a highly organized, legalized human trafficking ring and man it just made me sick to think about.

The only thing I could have done without in this one was the love story they were pushing between Avery and Trent (her reluctant investigator to uncover above mentioned family secrets). That whole subplot really wasn’t needed and kind of inessential to making a quality read.

For SURE add this one to your reading list. The writing was top notch and the plot line was so well done!

Until next week!




Real-life bookworm with a taste for adventure. Coco enjoys reading as much as she enjoys good coffee. Coco is an experienced book reader, and expert book reviewer. If you need a book reviewed, you are in good hands.

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