Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780425284681
Call Number: FIC WIN
Characteristics: 342 pages ; 24 cm
Bib Control Number: 932623


From Library Staff

IndyPL_BethanyA Apr 09, 2019

This book was a jolting introduction to the Tennessee Children's Home Society. While the story itself is fictional, it is based on Georgia Tann's countless illegal adoptions and kidnappings of kids over the first half of the twentieth century. The story alternated between present day and the pa... Read More »

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Nov 17, 2020

A good read

Nov 16, 2020

Disturbing but fascinating book based on a page in history, The Tennessee Childrens' Home Society, a network run by Georgia Tann. Children were kidnapped from families, placed in orphanages and treated like animals, then sold off to wealthy families. This story involves 5 siblings, and the oldest' search for her brothers and sisters into old age.

Oct 30, 2020

take off list as
I have already read this book

Oct 05, 2020

I always looked forward to picking this book up to see where the story would take me. I did not know the horrors of this story, I am glad it was able to be brought to light. I thought the love story line was unnecessary but I could just be cynical- I recommend as a read.

Sep 29, 2020

Before We Were Yours is the second book I’ve read recently that was narrated from several perspectives, one of them being a granddaughter searching for her grandmother’s secrets. The granddaughter in Before We Were Yours was Avery Stafford. Her grandmother’s secret involved adoption, the Tennessee Children’s Home and Georgia Tan. The story was historical fiction, but it was based on the real person, Georgia Tan, and the illegal adoption ring that she ran based in Tennessee. The second narration was by Rill Foss, a twelve-year old child who was a fictional composite of children who lived in the Tennessee Children’s Home in 1939. The plot was multifaceted, including the historical theme, plus those of adoption, sibling relationships and social status. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and was deeply moved by the story.

Sep 27, 2020

Historical fiction about a family of children stolen from their parents and their experience at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. The story is told from two characters point of view. Rill Foss’s character was well portrayed and inspiring. This is a tough story to read because it’s based from real events in history but there is a hopeful note that weaves throughout the story and makes this a good read.

Sep 26, 2020

It started a little slow but became hard to put down. The story is told from two different view points and different points in time. I found myself loving the story from the past, but by the end of the book, longing to read what was happening in the present. I love the different character point-of-view narratives. It was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. To think this children's home really existed is unbelievable.

Sep 20, 2020

The incredibly sad story of children who were taken from their family and put into adoption in Tennessee by Georgia Tann. Lives were broken and eternally changed. But some seemed to overcome even the worst circumstances and thrive.

Sep 18, 2020

A compelling read based on real life events surrounding a Tennessee adoption agency. A real eye opener into some sad US history.

Sep 12, 2020

This is not my "normal" type of book, but I was intrigued by the fact that this was based on true and unimaginable events surrounding an infamous orphanage. I found myself listening late into the night because I couldn't wait to see how things turned out. Great book, and great narration!

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Add a Quote
Jun 17, 2019

"No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn't suit the moment."

Oct 12, 2018

“We plan our days, but we don’t control them.” - p. 95

Oct 12, 2018

“The argument ends where all arguments do—on the altar of compromise.” - p. 255

Oct 12, 2018

“I learned that you need not be born into a family to be loved by one.” - p. 314

Oct 12, 2018

“A woman’s past need not predict her future. She can dance to new music if she
chooses. Her own music. - p. 317

ArapahoeMaryA Jun 13, 2017

I clench my teeth so hard the pain travels all the way to the top of my head. I'm glad for it - it's just a little ache and I know where it comes from. I can stop it anytime I want. The one in my heart is way bigger. I can't fix it no matter how hard I try. It scares me so much that I can't even breathe.

"…the love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat; it is as ever present as a pulse.


Add Age Suitability
Jan 20, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Sep 26, 2017

BRUCE PILCHER thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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