Book Review: 'Before We Were Yours' by Lisa Wingate

For the hundreds who vanished 
and for the thousands who didn't. 
May your stories 
not be forgotten. 

For those who help today's orphans 
find forever homes. 
May you always know the value
of your work 
and your love.

These words are printed at the beginning of Before We Were Yours, an incredibly written historical fiction book by Lisa Wingate. This is the first time that I've read anything in this genre and it's left an impact on me that I will not soon forget. This story tossed my emotions around like a Tilt-A-Whirl ride at the carnival and never let go of me till the very end. 

The story takes place in 1939, when Rill and her four younger siblings are left alone one night when their father takes their mother to the hospital. While on the Arcadia, a riverboat they've grown up on, trouble ensues as strangers take them from their home. Kidnapped, the kids are thrown into the world of Georgia Tann and her Tennessee Children's Home Society. Georgia had a market on kidnapping poor children to sell to wealthy families across the country. Circumstances here are not ideal for any child, but that's not how Georgia goes about portraying her home for children. 

Fast forward to present day, in Aiken, S.C., Avery Stafford seems to have it all. Born into wealth and privilege, she has a successful career as a federal prosecutor and a handsome best-friend-turned-fiancé. She returns home to help her father, a U.S. senator, with some health issues and political work, when she has a chance encounter with a stranger that will change her life forever. This is where the story starts to unravel the past and puts it front-and-center in the present day. A secret from her aging grandmother's past comes to light and Avery is spiraled down a hole of finding out what and where she actually comes from. 

This book was an incredible read, I couldn't put it down. I hope that anyone that reads this book enjoys it as much as I did. I'm anticipating the follow-up, Before and After, slated to come out Oct. 22, 2019.