Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a historical fiction novel based on events surrounding the adoption industry during approximately thirty years in the last century. In particular, the fraudulent, inhuman dealings of The Tennessee Children’s Home Society under the auspices of Georgia Tann which kidnapped, abused, and sold hundreds of children from unsuspecting parents.
In this story, five siblings living on a river shanty in Memphis are taken from their parents never to be seen again. Many years later, an unsuspecting wealthy young woman uncovers her grandmother’s hidden past while visiting a nursing home where she observes an old photograph of a group of women, one of whom is a dead-ringer for her grandmother. The story flips from past to present as the granddaughter slowly unravels the truth about her heritage.
The story is heartbreaking especially knowing there exist true stories similar to it involving adoptions and orphaned children connected to a barbaric Society which operated in the last century.
I had a difficult time reading this story because of the nature of it. I could have done without the modern day love story. For me, it didn’t lend anything to the story. However, the subject matter of the illegal adoption agency and its horrific history was of interest and I recommend the novel based on that story being brought to light in fictionalized form.