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Publisher's Summary

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....

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, 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, Before We Were Yours is a riveting, wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale.

©2017 Lisa Wingate (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation's history and weaves a tale of enduring power." (Paula McLain)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A Great Read

I was lost in this book, every time i played this, I did a time travel. I went from being Rail to Avery. I was certain this is not entirely fictional and the last chapter cleared my doubts.
I loved this book all the way.
The performance was Excellent.

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Before We Were Yours

Excellent performance and story, though there was too much telling rather than showing the emotions of the characters. In Avery's case, I couldn't understand or be sympathetic with her.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for m a kingsbury
  • m a kingsbury
  • 03-30-18

Excellent production

Fascinating and very moving account of an era totally outside my experiences; brilliant narration ; I highly recommend this book

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Profile Image for Amy Connolly
  • Amy Connolly
  • 01-22-18

thoroughly enjoyed it

Little bit slow to start but once it got going I was hooked.

I really enjoyed this story but it wasn't without it's faults. Rill's narration was far more interesting than Avery's, and I found Avery to be a little dense for such a smart woman.

The narration was great.

I think what I found most interesting was it was based on true events and since reading this book I've looked up a lot to do with the orphanage.

I would recommend this listen.

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Profile Image for Masonia
  • Masonia
  • 12-18-17

Well written. A gripping story, and good narrators

I really enjoyed this book, even though the love story was a bit obvious. Although these people didn't exist, the stories are based on history, so it was very gripping. Hard to imagine what the parents and children went through.
The narration was spot on. I liked having two narrators for Rill and Averly because it made the story easier to follow.