Before We Were Yours
By Lisa Wingate
Ballantine Books, 2017. 342 pgs. Historical Fiction
Rill Foss’s parents leave her in charge of her four siblings on their family shantyboat when her mother’s labor stops progressing normally. While they are gone, all five children are pulled from the only home they have ever known and sent to the care of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. While in the orphanage, the children will suffer a variety of abuses until some are adopted by wealthy couples unaware that they have loving parents still searching for them.
This story is based on the infamous adoption scam run by Georgia Tann. Hundreds of children are believed to have died in her care and hundreds more were kidnapped to feed her orphanages that catered to the rich and famous. Wingate tells the story of the fictional Foss children while alternating from a present day story to one occurring to Rill in 1939. The history behind this novel makes it a must for historical fiction fans and the wonderful storytelling makes it a must for everyone else.