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Summary

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....

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, 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, Before We Were Yours is a riveting, wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale.

©2017 Lisa Wingate (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation's history and weaves a tale of enduring power." (Paula McLain)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

thoroughly enjoyed it

Little bit slow to start but once it got going I was hooked.

I really enjoyed this story but it wasn't without it's faults. Rill's narration was far more interesting than Avery's, and I found Avery to be a little dense for such a smart woman.

The narration was great.

I think what I found most interesting was it was based on true events and since reading this book I've looked up a lot to do with the orphanage.

I would recommend this listen.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well written. A gripping story, and good narrators

I really enjoyed this book, even though the love story was a bit obvious. Although these people didn't exist, the stories are based on history, so it was very gripping. Hard to imagine what the parents and children went through.
The narration was spot on. I liked having two narrators for Rill and Averly because it made the story easier to follow.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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I loved this book

This is a fabulous book. It is a sad story beautifully told. I loved this book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Excellent production

Fascinating and very moving account of an era totally outside my experiences; brilliant narration ; I highly recommend this book

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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An Interesting Historic Fiction

I really enjoyed this book which is about Georgia Tann who was orchestrator of true life scandalous adoptions in America. Though it is fiction, it is based on fact. This book is well written and narrated.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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More than expected

I was expecting a novel about orphans but this is based on truth. The story is nevertheless a real page turner. The author gives some further reading at the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant book!

Great book, some of the more harrowing chapters were quite hard to read but gripping story

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Fabulous listen

I could hardly stop listening as I wanted to reach the end to find out what happened - but didn’t as then this sad but inspirational story would be over! Perfectly narrated too.

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A beautifully written story.

The book carefully weaves the web through this amazing family history.
Sadly the authors’s note at the end reveals, although this was a work of fiction, the story could have been a true life story of literally thousands of children spanning several decades, under the hands of Georgia Tann
Child trafficking in ways most of us would never think possible.
A truly thought provoking read.

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A brilliant, informative listen

This story is well-crafted, well written and gripping. The fact that it is based on shockingly true circumstances makes it even more worthwhile listening to.
There is an interesting author's note at the end.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shea Elly
  • 13-09-18

Heartwarming and heartbreaking all in one

I had no knowledge of the events surrounding Georgia Tann and her awful deeds. The narrative weaves the reality and the fiction together so well that it is not hard to believe that it could be completely true. I was riveted from the first word. I was breathless with fear when the little ones were left and ultimately, I was worried when dealing with the health issues in present day and felt sadness at Grandma Judy's losses. I felt Avery's anguish in her decisions about her future and I wanted to solve the mysteries of who was who in each time. I must congratulate the two narrator's as their characterizations were integral to my enjoyment of the story. I will learn more about the adoption scandal now as my interest has been piqued by this tale. I highly recommend this book as it is a truly rich story with lovable characters and a well developed storyline. Bravo to the author and the voice artist's. Magnificent job.

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  • Lars
  • 16-05-18

Lost lives.

A wonderful story of how the lives of helpless and defenseless people can unravel. One can never imagine what children remember or how it gets understood.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria
  • 18-04-18

A Great Read

I was lost in this book, every time i played this, I did a time travel. I went from being Rail to Avery. I was certain this is not entirely fictional and the last chapter cleared my doubts.
I loved this book all the way.
The performance was Excellent.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • George Karanasios
  • 04-03-18

Before We Were Yours

Excellent performance and story, though there was too much telling rather than showing the emotions of the characters. In Avery's case, I couldn't understand or be sympathetic with her.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful