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Before We Were Yours  By  cover art

Before We Were Yours

By: Lisa Wingate
Narrated by: Emily Rankin, Catherine Taber
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Publisher's summary

THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT - A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly best seller

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 Number Three Longest-Running Best Seller of 2017 • Winner of the Southern Book Prize • If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection

©2017 Lisa Wingate (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber are polished narrators who give us sympathetic, memorable characters whose voices are age appropriate and conventionally Southern.... This story is well presented - perfectly paced and emotionally satisfying." (AudioFile)

“A [story] of a family lost and found... A poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets.” (People)

“One of the year’s best books... It is almost a cliché to say a book is ‘lovingly written’ but that phrase applies clearly to Lisa Wingate’s latest novel, Before We Were Yours. This story about children taken from their parents through kidnapping or subterfuge and then placed for adoption, for a price, clearly pours out of Wingate’s heart.... It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel. It invades your heart from the very first pages and stays there long after the book is finished. Few novelists could strike the balance this story requires but Wingate does it with assurance. There are a lot of books that will catch your eye this summer, some from our best storytellers. Make sure this one is on your radar. It should not be missed.” (The Huffington Post)

Featured Article: The Best Historical Fiction Audiobooks


Often based on real people, events, and scenarios, historical fiction gives us the opportunity to learn about worlds and times we will never experience while introducing fascinating characters and stories set in their midst. Sometimes, the genre can even give us a peek into hidden storylines that routinely go unmentioned in traditional history books, showing us that those of ages past are perhaps not so different from ourselves.