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Before We Were Yours
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Archive: Other Books > Before We Were Yours; 4 Stars

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Hahtoolah | 439 comments Beginning in the 1920s, Georgia Tann (1891 ~ 1959) ran a fraudulent adoption agency using the Tennessee Children’s Home Society as a front for her business in child trafficking. Tann would steal children from poor families and sold them to affluent families all over the country.

Before We Were Yours is a fictional account of four children who were taken from their loving parents and placed under the care of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

The novel alternates between the present and 1939. In the present, the protagonist is Avery Stafford. She is from a prominent South Carolina family and her father is a politician and is involved in a re-election campaign. While assisting with her father’s campaign, she meets May Crandall, an elderly woman in a nursing home. She sees a photograph in May’s room that looks amazingly like Avery’s grandmother, Judy. Judy has dementia and hints at some scandal and a mysterious link to May Crandall. Judy, however, is unable to elaborate further. This causes Avery to search for the story behind the photograph.

In 1939, Rill Foss and her sibling lived with their loving parents on a boat on the Mississippi River. Rill and her sibling are stolen and sent to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. Life in the orphanage is harsh ~ rules must be followed and punishment is severe. Rill hopes that her parents will come and rescue her and her sibling. She tries to keep her family together despite the danger and uncertainty of life in the orphanage.

The two stories are told side-by-side. As Avery seeks to learn about her family’s history, May seeks to find her sibling.

There is a side story of a romance, which didn’t quite mesh well with the narratives of Avery and Rill. That said, however, this is a wonderful novel that exposes a piece of history.

4 Stars

message 2: by Karin (last edited May 29, 2018 05:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin | 7465 comments This was 4 stars for me, but while you are certainly not the only one to think the romance didn't mesh/fit, I liked the romance and thought it was excellent--no, it didn't mesh with the story of Avery and Rill exactly, but I thought it worked well, and didn't think it was supposed to mesh.

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