Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

  • Release Date: 2017-06-06
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 7,956 Ratings


THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT—Over two million copies sold! A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller

“Poignant, engrossing.”—People • “Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power.”—Paula McLain

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.

Publishers Weekly’s #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017Winner of the Southern Book PrizeIf All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection

This edition includes a new essay by the author about shantyboat life.


  • Excellent Book l

    By Vicki LQ
    This book was very hard to put down! It grabbed me from the get go!
  • The story of the past vs. present

    By Plfwq
    I loved the story from the past. Remarkable tale of the lengths that love will go to. However the present day characters were so flat and unlikeable. Even the ones I was supposed to like had me skimming the present day chapters to get back to the past.
  • Incredibl story that stickers with you over time!!

    By Majicreds
    Loved this Story!
  • Absolutely enjoyed this book

    By ksr1170
    This book was very well written and had me captivated beginning to end. I highly recommend you take a chance on this wonderful story
  • Slow start and then I couldn’t put it down.

    By Margo99
    A bit of a slow start and then I couldn’t put it down. Good read
  • Page Turner

    By jgfranco22
    Heartbreaking story, beautifully written.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction

    By KathyNYC
    If it was not true , it would have been too hard to believe. What some people have gone through!
  • Good quick read

    By Morgan&Smokey
    I really liked this book can’t say it’s super memorable but it was an easy read and it was written well.
  • One of the best books I’ve read to date

    By Danielleee_1207
    Truly heart-wrenching but extremely well-researched and written. Couldn’t put it down. I loved the fictionalized story used to tell the true events of this atrocity in history to make for a smooth cohesive read. So incredibly changed by this story and book. A must read.
  • Captivating

    By melmyall
    From the first page I was caught up in the lives of these children. The weaving of the story is excellent and the surprises and historical parallels are captivating. I was born in 1949 on the west coast but my parent’s told stories of people like Georgia. They warned me there were people who would take children for monetary gain. Very interesting as the connections continued over several generations in this well told story based on facts. Loved the painful but positive ending and the love for grandparents .