Review: Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, is a historical fiction account of five siblings, separated by tragedy and impoverished circumstances in the 1930s. When their mother suffers serious pregnancy complications, their father must leave the children alone on a shanty boat to seek medical help.  While away, the unthinkable happens. The children are abducted.  Curtailed by poverty, no formal education, a lack of societal support and fear, the children and parents become separated.

Cut to present day when a young, aspiring attorney from a Southern, aristocratic political family happens upon a family mystery and secrets when she returns home to visit and attend to her father who is ill.

Elements from the past combine with the present to unfurl the truth regarding this family’s past history.

I personally enjoyed the “voice” of Rill, the teenaged oldest sister from the 1930s, who struggles to protect her siblings from danger, abuse, and further separation. She is courageous, personable, spirited and bright.

Avery, the modern day lawyer is struggling with her own identity as a woman in a position of prestige in the public eye. She must discern between her wealthy family’s expectations and traditions for her future and her personal aspirations which might break from the presumed path of duty, humility, and conservatism.    

Some adopted readers might find this account filled with “triggers” relating to their personal situations, but it is a worthy and well-done read. It is another truth relating to adoptions and child-brokering for profit conducted by Georgia Tan many years ago. Sadly these crimes do happen in present times around the world, (although, to be fair, not in all adoption cases.)

Before We Were Yours is descriptive and draws the reader into the past through creative story-telling and engaging dialogue.

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