BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours is another title that came to me via my fellow-historical-fiction-loving aunt. It’s a multi-period novel involving main characters Avery Stafford in the present and May/Rill around 1939. The mystery of the story is how they (and other characters) are related.

This book started off strong and pulled me right in. The Rill/May character seemed to me to have a more unique voice, but since hers was a child viewpoint, this might be expected. Avery’s sections seemed a bit too Nicolas Sparksesque, romance novely for my taste, and that part of the story was predictable.

For a two-character point-of-view story to keep me reading each one, they both need to be compelling, and they were. I was a bit disappointed when one character’s chapter ended, but it was okay because I was left on such a cliffhanger at the end of the other character’s chapter, so I was glad to know what happened. In this case, having the two characters did add some mystery to the story and allowed the author to weave in more subplots, but I did find Rill/May’s story more compelling.

Instead of saying, “present day,” I think it would’ve been better for the author to name a year, such as 2002 or whenever she wrote it because the cell phone and communication descriptions seem archaic for 2017 (the year it was published).

The story in this novel is fiction based on real stories of survivors and victims of the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home Society that stole children or obtained them via other illegal or unethical methods, passed them off as orphans, and essentially sold them to the wealthy.

The theme covered how where we come from and where we grow up affects our lives and something that happens in one person’s life can forever alter ensuring generations. It is also about truth and how it should come out no matter what (at least the author seems to think so) as well as being your true self and not just what others expect of you.

I read this book in six days, so on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it a nine.

Source: Wingate, Lisa. (2017.) Before We Were Yours. Ballantine Books.

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