25 June 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate


AMAZON UK £1.99 £7.74
AMAZON US $15.60 $21.45
AMAZON CA $14.99

Family Drama
1930s
American South

“Memphis, Tennessee, 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...

“Aiken, South Carolina, present day
Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, 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.”

Before We Were Yours is historical fiction set in the American South in the 1930s and tells the unknown and extraordinary tale of baby farming. It is based on fact which makes it all the more engaging - you learn from this novel.

Teenage Rill is left alone to fend for her four siblings when her father rushes her pregnant mother to hospital. Within hours, their houseboat is stormed and the children are forced into an orphanage. For orphanage read 'Baby Market' as the children slowly and agonisingly discover that their parents will never come back and their slow understanding is beautifully portrayed and gripping. The novel goes back-and-forth with a modern day rich girl who also discovers gradually and painfully that her own family have secrets - and if they come out then the result will be devastating.

Now and then the novel loses our attention as it meanders a little and the changes in points of view take time to get used to but a great read and heart wrenching once you know it is based on cold, hard facts.  

© Jeffrey Manton


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