Before We Were Yours – by Lisa Wingate – independent book review – Historical Fiction (United States)

WingateDeeply Disturbing Account of a little-known American Scandal – awarded four stars on Goodreads.

Lisa Wingate’s skillful, fictionalized account of the horrific scandal that unfolded during the 1930s – 1950 at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society is a page-turner from the start.

For more than 20 years, the woman who ran this home, Georgia Tann, helped popularize adoption in the United States, even consulting with Eleanor Roosevelt about child welfare. But, at the same time, Tann was amassing a fortune “selling” children from poor families to childless couples with money to spare.

Often, these children were illegally kidnapped from their original homes or their parents were forced to sign over their parental rights, under false pretenses. Intentionally falsified documents and sealed records made it virtually impossible to track down the truth.

Lisa Wingate

 Wingate tells this story using two heroines.

Rill Foss is a 12-year old who, along with four younger siblings, is snatched from one life and dropped into another. As the oldest, she feels a keen responsibility for keeping her brothers and sisters together and finding a way back to their parents.

The second heroine is Avery Stafford, the daughter of a prominent Senator, who slowly unravels some long-buried family secrets that ultimately cause her to question her work, her fiancé, and her future.

This is NOT an easy book to read. There are bereft parents, tragic deaths, and both emotional and physical abuse to get past. But it’s a captivating novel full of characters who will touch you deeply.More about the author, Lisa Wingate.

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