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Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

  • Release Date: 2017-06-06
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 6,649 Ratings


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

Look for Lisa Wingate’s powerful new historical novel, The Book of Lost Friends, available now!

“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 2017  Winner of the Southern Book Prize  If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection

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


  • Amazing Book

    By PLiane
    I wasn’t able to put this book down. The tale is incredible yet heartbreaking but so very well written! I’ve found a new author to follow!
  • Excellent story only sad to know it is based on true events.

    By vakate222
    The story is captivating. A must read
  • Incredible read!!

    By Kim Guined
    I could not put this book down. Simply amazing.
  • Before We were yours

    By Big Sweet NV
    Great book!
  • Before We Were Yours

    By GG Runner
    Even though this story was incredibly sad, it was written in riveting fashion. I couldn’t put it down!
  • Very engaging!

    By Nkindu
    Hard to put it down. Beautifully written!
  • Heartbreakingly real

    By Grandmother Joyce
    ‘Before We Were Yours’ reached into my soul and horrified me, then raised me up to hope that our world can be better. The Georgia Tanns of this world must be stopped. Awareness of how far people selfishly go for their own benefit is vital to eradicating such evils. Sadly human trafficking is still in our news every day. Adoption is beautiful when done to truly help children. Thank you for a gripping story, though fiction, that reminds us to be aware and alert to such wrong doing.
  • A book I’ll never forget

    By Lainie Amethyst
    This story is disturbing and heartbreaking and something I’ll think about for a long time. I rarely give books 5 stars but this one is very deserving. I highly recommend this book!!
  • Loved it!

    By Favorite Gps
    Fabulous book!
  • Heartbreaking story..

    By Patsy82
    I had been wanting to read this book for awhile, the begging was a little slow for me to really get into the book, but finally I was drawn into the characters story and could not wait to see how this book unfolds. It is a very heartbreaking story of children who were born into a poor river family, even though they were poor they were loved and had one another, but the children were basically stolen away, they were abused and tortured by the adults that took them, however this story proves that the love of siblings runs deeper than anything.