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Fixed on Fiction

Before We Were Yours

In February, Fixed on Fiction met to discuss Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate-

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.

-Summary courtesy of Goodreads. 

Before We Were Yours received ten thumbs up votes and one thumbs down vote in our group. Here are some of the initial comments readers made while discussing their reaction to this month's title:

  • I loved it! It read really quickly. 
  • I liked it a lot. I got into it quickly. I liked the present day story...even more fascinating. 
  • Thumbs down. I didn't like the writing style. The dialogue was unrealistic. The story/history was interesting, but there was a complete lack of characterization. 
  • I liked it, but I love anything by Lisa Wingate.
  • I liked it, didn't know this was based on a true story until the very end. But the romance was ridiculous. 
  • I liked the story but the writing was weak and very predictable. But I wanted to know who Judy was. May's musical life should have been more developed- that was interesting! 
  • I really enjoyed the back and forth through time. 
  • I'm still trying to figure out who Judy was (...the group discussed further, left out here due to spoilers). The romance was cheesy and unnecessary. 
  • I enjoyed the story but I questioned certain areas. Rill must have been very strong to keep a family together at 12 years old. 

These are just a few thoughts shared during our discussion. Feel free to share additional comments on Before We Were Yours below. 

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