Lisa Wingate, author of ‘Before We Were Yours’, writes a fictional story based on one of America’s most infamous real-life scandals, the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. During 1939 twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four siblings lived in a shanty boat on the Mississippi River with their parents. When their father makes an urgent trip to the local hospital with their mother, the children are left alone for a few days with Rill in charge. Suddenly strangers rush in, taking the children and move them by force into life at the orphanage. At the mercy of the cruel director, Georgia Tann, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty. Her efforts slowly diminish, and the siblings are eventually adopted into various families across the south.
Avery Stafford is a successful federal prosecutor in present day South Carolina. Raised in a well-to-do Southern aristocratic family, she is planning her wedding to what her family considers an appropriate suitor for someone with her background and status; but how does Avery truly feel. When she returns home to help care for her ailing father, Avery begins to discover some old photographs and writings about her family’s past that lead to multiply questions which require answers. As she begins to unearth the answers to her grandmother’s past with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, Avery also digs up buried feelings deep within herself about her own past and future.
‘Before We Were Yours’ gives a realistic view into a difficult time during the Depression years. If you have heard of or have always wanted to know more about the history of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society this may be a book you will want to read.