Before We Were Yours was a book that I wasn’t sure I would enjoy when I picked it up. I love historical fiction, but the time period wasn’t something I found fascinating before. The novel is about a family torn apart by Georgia Tann the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, and the conditions that the children lived through, or didn’t live through, and the impact that this has on a modern-day family.
I think that the most alarming thing about this book is that it is based on true events, true horrors that went on in the lives of these children. They were literally stolen from their parents, sometimes right outside their homes, babies taken in the night, mothers told their babies had died during childbirth, among other things. Things that would be unimaginable today, but that really happened to real people, and still impact their lives even now.
Lisa Wingate’s writing flows beautifully, and by the end of the book I found myself feeling as if I really knew Rill and her family. The book feels almost like a mystery novel as Avery tries to unravel the family secrets that have been kept hidden for so many decades, and I wanted to know what she’d find out next each step of the way. I also have to give major props to Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber, the narrators of the audiobook. The narration was excellent, and it was a joy to listen to, despite how depressing the story could be at times.
I love a book with a well-written climax, and Before We Were Yours didn’t disappoint at all. It kept me guessing the whole way, and I really wanted to know what happened to each character by the end. There were a few that disappeared and nobody ever knew what happened to them, which gave me a sort of anxiousness, but it really fit the story, as this is exactly what happened to some of those children at the time. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.