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Archive - Award Winners > Before We Were Yours - September 2018

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message 1: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6209 comments Mod
Winner of the Historical Fiction award

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

An engrossing novel inspired by shocking real events the kidnappings and illegal adoptions of children conducted by the notorious Tennessee Children s Home Society Before We Were Yours is a poignant, uplifting tale for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale."

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for fans of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge - until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals - in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country - Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

message 2: by Holly (new)

Holly Weiss (hollyweiss) | 11 comments I thought this book was superb.

message 3: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6209 comments Mod
I also thought this one was excellent, Holly. I'm hoping there's a lot of discussion. There was so much going on during reading that would be great to discuss with others and I want to everyone's thoughts.

message 4: by Savanes, Moderator (new)

Savanes | 2056 comments Mod
I'm planning to start this one in a few days... I just need to finish a book first! :)

message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris I loved this!! Have it with another bookclub for December - can't wait for the discussion!!

message 6: by Nanci (new)

Nanci | 78 comments This was one of my favorite books of the year. I read it with my RL book group and look forward to discussing it here as well.

message 7: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4213 comments Mod
I'm really torn about this book. I want to read it because I've heard so many good things about it, but I don't want to read it because I'm not sure I will cope with it emotionally. Is it very heart wrenching?

message 8: by Trisa (new)

Trisa | 1 comments Excellent book. I read it with my book club this year. Highly recommended. Lots of topics to be discussed.

message 9: by Kristie, Moderator (last edited Sep 03, 2018 06:20AM) (new)

Kristie | 6209 comments Mod
That’s a tough question, Lynn. I tend to read a lot of difficult to read books, so I may not be the best judge. I would say there are certainly some sad and upsetting parts. I don’t recall sobbing through this one, but I do remember feeling my heart in my chest a few times and I may have shed a few tears.

message 10: by Vicki Willis (new)

Vicki Willis | 892 comments I want to read this one too. Not sure when I can start though.

message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 16 comments This is one of my favorite books ever. I found it both incredibly compelling & heartbreaking. I listened to the audiobook last year and would recommend it (except the older narrator has to be played at lower speed than the younger one). I really find it interesting that we are reading this and Killer Moon the same month, because they are both such eye-opening stories based on real life incidents. So amazing that the details of this awful saga aren't more widely known.
Lynn- as far as the emotional impact, I feel it's handled pretty tastefully overall. I think the author could have milked it for a lot more disturbing detail than she did. I read this late last year, so I hope I'm not forgetting something important, but I think this book is really one not to be missed.

message 12: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6209 comments Mod
Good tip for the audio, Susan.

I hadn’t considered Killer Moon to be similar to this one in any way, but good observation. They do both deal with true subjects I didn’t really know about. I’m hoping to get to Killer Moon this month too.

message 13: by Savanes, Moderator (new)

Savanes | 2056 comments Mod
I'm almost half way through. The first 20% were very difficult to get into for me. I don't know why though because I like the author's writing. Maybe I was tired, maybe I wasn't in the mood for that kind of book or maybe it was slow going. Anyways it's better now. It is a difficult subject but I agree that author is managing it well.

message 14: by Janina (new)

Janina (sylarana) | 692 comments I listened to this one as well and while it is truly heartbreaking, it's also told in a very beautiful way which kind of makes it easier to get through it.
I loved the book. I really did. I had a very hard time connecting to Avery .. I really disliked her initially and even by the end of the book, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't get along if we ever met. But, it still worked for me .. it's not always about liking the characters in the book.

message 15: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (meldoc) Janina wrote: "I listened to this one as well and while it is truly heartbreaking, it's also told in a very beautiful way which kind of makes it easier to get through it.
I loved the book. I really did. I had a v..."

I never really connected with Avery either. I agree that the writing style was very good. Good enough that I would like to read more from this author.

I wonder if the reason I wasn’t too interested in Avery or her personal Story is because she was not given the same care and detailby the author that the rest of the characters were given. Perhaps it was because Avery was essentially used as a writing device to tell the “real story”.


Maybe it was just me...good news is the book as a whole kept me intrigued and I was stunned to discover it was based on true events.

message 16: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6209 comments Mod
Melanie, It's so sad that these types of things happened in our history and we're mostly unaware of them. I've found that in several books recently. It's hard to imagine this being true.

message 17: by Colleen (new)

Colleen  | 139 comments I listened to it on audio - I agree it was good, but the hype around it made me expect so much more. Maybe if I had read it, it would have been a different experience. I suspect that is what happens in a few for me as the narrator makes a huge difference.

I was just frustrated with Rill, but had to keep reminding myself she was a child.

message 18: by Vicki Willis (new)

Vicki Willis | 892 comments I am just starting this one now. i am about 30 pages in so we will see how it goes.

message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 16 comments Melanie wrote: "Janina wrote: "I listened to this one as well and while it is truly heartbreaking, it's also told in a very beautiful way which kind of makes it easier to get through it.
I loved the book. I really..."

I agree that Rill and her siblings were much easier to connect with than Avery- the power of Avery's story didn't come till the end with her family, for me. And it was always secondary to the magnitude of the whole TN Children's Home cover-up, of course. It made me want to question everything- and I guess that's often necessary, sadly.

message 20: by Kristie, Moderator (new)

Kristie | 6209 comments Mod
Colleen, I read this one before the hype. I think that makes a difference. Usually when I read something that has a lot of hype I end up disappointed.

Vicki, hope you love it.

message 21: by Chris (new)

Chris I always read this authors works - she is a to go to author for me. When I read about this book coming out I wasn't sure I wanted to read it because of the subject matter.
Before this book - I only knew a little of the subject matter from a genealogy and news point of view..Now that I have read the book, I felt for the children that were taken from their families and what happened to the families- with the ending it resolved much of the anger in the book for me...I am reading this with my book club for December.

message 22: by Vicki Willis (last edited Oct 16, 2018 05:20AM) (new)

Vicki Willis | 892 comments I finished it. Crying crying crying.
This was one of the best books I have read this year.

The part about (view spoiler)

Man what a tear jerker that was for me!

VIcki's Review

message 23: by Savanes, Moderator (new)

Savanes | 2056 comments Mod
I'm glad you liked it Vicki and I totally agree with your spoiler especially the last part. It would have made me crazy.

message 24: by Paula (new)

Paula S (paula_s) | 36 comments I felt like I had read this story before, with the details changed. Young woman finds that elderly woman has a secret that will impacts her life and makes her question her own love life. It's been done so many times before and even though I found this book well-written and interesting, it didn't really stand out from the pack for me. I ended up giving it 4 stars on GoodReads, because I did enjoy it, but I wasn't as engaged in the story as I had expected to be.

message 25: by Savanes, Moderator (new)

Savanes | 2056 comments Mod
I agree with you Paula, however I found it well executed and I enjoyed the book. 4 stars for me too.

Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) I just finished this one earlier this week, and it was really moving. I was totally unaware of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, and did some digging for more context. Oh my goodness, what a terrible story! I can only imagine how scared and sad those children must have been.

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