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“Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is an emotional and captivating historical fiction novel that follows the story of two families and their intersecting histories.

Spanning two centuries and two distinct eras in American history, the novel follows Rill Foss and the Memphis-based Tennessee Children’s Home Society, a shameful chapter in the history of the United States.


The story is set in two different times: the first in the 1930s, when twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four siblings are taken from their family and put into the care of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

The second timeline takes place in the present day, where Avery Stafford, a successful lawyer from a prominent family in South Carolina, becomes embroiled in the mystery of what happened to the Foss family.

As she begins to unravel the secrets of the past, Avery’s discoveries lead her to an unlikely connection to her own family.


Rill Foss is the protagonist of the novel. She is a strong-willed and brave girl who is determined to protect and keep her family together, no matter what. Other characters include her siblings, her parents, and the many people she meets on her journey.

Avery Stafford is the other protagonist of the story. She is a successful, driven lawyer who is determined to uncover the truth about her family’s past.

Writing Style

The writing style of the novel is emotive, descriptive, and rich with detail. Wingate’s detailed descriptions of the settings and characters bring the story to life and make it easy to get lost in the narrative.


Before We Were Yours is an emotionally charged and captivating work of historical fiction. It is an exploration of two distinct eras of American history and how the past can shape our present.

The compelling story, strong characters, and emotive writing make this book a must-read.

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