Before We Were Yours

Before We were Yours by Lisa Wingate popped up on several of my Facebook reading groups (yes, I belong to several — don’t judge!). So, I did what I usually do in that situation, I put it on hold at the library. Boy, was I shocked to see that I was number 342 in line for the book! A more rational, less stubborn person would have gone out and bought the book, but not me. I settled in for the long wait. My number finally came up and I scooted over to the library before they gave it to someone else.

Rill Foss and her siblings only know life on the river. Their parents took to the water years earlier to escape the Great Depression sweeping the country. When the Foss siblings are caught up in a kidnapping plot they must fight to stay together and to stay alive. Meanwhile, in the present day, Avery Stafford learns some startling truths about her pristine family heritage. Is it possible that her ancestors weren’t all they claimed to be? How will this news change her future in politics? Is knowing the truth really worth the consequences? Both Rill Foss and Avery Stafford must hear the music of their lives to fully embrace who they are and who they are becoming.

I found Before We Were Yours difficult to get into at first and I wondered if my stubborn waiting for it had been in vain. But when I reached the third chapter or so I found that I couldn’t put the book down. The characters are gripping, the storyline is both hopeful and heartbreaking, and the history is fascinating. The plot keeps you guessing at what will be revealed next. Told during the late 1930’s and in the present, the story explores a shocking time in the history of foster care and adoption — a time when, in some Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanages, children were being stolen from their families and forced to live in deplorable circumstances until they could be essentially sold to adoptive families. If you like dual timeline books, plots involving a hint of mystery, and historical novels that break your heart and then mend it again, this book is for you.

Quotable: “Life is not unlike cinema. Each scene has its own music… we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step.”

Cautions and Caveats: There are hints of abuse (all types) throughout the book, none of which are expressly spelled out. A person who is sensitive to such scenes even when they remain innuendo may want to steer clear.