“Before We Were Yours”: A Review

Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate introduces the shameful story of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, an organization run by Georgia Tann, a woman who made money by abducting poor children from their homes and selling them into adoption.

Wingate’s novel imagines what life would be like for siblings taken from their homes and forced into Tann’s human trafficking scheme.  It asks the question: should the past stay in the past, or is there value in revealing truths?

The story unfolds through the perspective of two women:  one an up and coming lawyer and politician, and the other an elderly woman in a nursing home.  The women’s chance meeting, provokes the younger, Avery, to investigate the connection between May and Avery’s grandmother.

Wingate weaves an intriguing tale, and the audio version is equally entertaining.

While the historical context is fascinating, and tragic, I struggled with the characters, who seem too good to be real, however; this is fiction, and when the story unwinds to the benefit of all, I guess this is what readers suspect.

That said, I am glad I listened to this book, as I now have awareness of a topic that I feel deserves further attention.  Disregard for human life continues to be a problem.  Here is literature highlighting the atrocity.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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