Before We Were Yours

Version: Unabridged
Author: Lisa Wingate
Narrator: Emily Rankin
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: October 2018
# of Units: 12 CDs
Length: 14 hours, 30 minutes
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THE BLOCKBUSTER HIT--A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly Bestseller

For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a "thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal."*

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.

* Library Journal

Publishers Weekly's #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017 - Winner of the Southern Book Prize - If All Arkansas Read the Same Book Selection

"A [story] of a family lost and found . . . a poignant, engrossing tale about sibling love and the toll of secrets." --People

"Sure to be one of the most compelling books you pick up this year. . . . Wingate is a master-storyteller, and you'll find yourself pulled along as she reveals the wake of terror and heartache that is Georgia Tann's legacy." -- Parade

"One of the year's best books . . . It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel." --The Huffington Post

Reviews (135)

Written by Leighanne6447 on May 9th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Having grown up in Memphis in the 70’s, I had no idea of the dark shadow that existed from the 30’s. The first 2 chapters are tough and then the rest is heartfelt and captivating. Narrator was amazing too!!

Written by Amanda K. on May 4th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5


Written by Adela B. on April 27th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Thank his was a wonderful book. Narrators are outstanding! I heart aches for this women whose children were taken unlawfully. May they rest in complete peace.

Written by Anonymous on April 26th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

fantastic read! couldn't stop.

Written by Anonymous on April 18th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

compelling story of adaptation. loyalty, love and survival. Enjoyed the culture of the South and the heartbeat of the River.

Written by Jennifer G. on April 14th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This book really brings to light realities of the world that most people overlook. Love is a universal language and this book represents amazing adventures of family love.


Written by Tracy B. on April 13th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Loved this book so much!! Fell in love with all the characters, and highly recommend!

Written by Sandy S. on February 22nd, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Fantastic book! The narration was great! Such an intriguing story. Makes me want to research and read more about the TCHS.


Written by Anonymous on February 14th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A harrowing story, beautifully told. The author’s note at the end answered some of my questions as to how true some of these events actually were.

Written by Anonymous on February 4th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Just the best story and so wonderfully written. This narration was so captivating, I just could not put it down.

Author Details

Author Details

Wingate, Lisa

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and the author of more than twenty mainstream fiction novels, including the national bestseller "Tending Roses", now in its nineteenth printing. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her novel "Blue Moon Bay" was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick. Recently the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Wingate, Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.