Before We Were Yours is a tale of historical fiction and is based on the real-life scandal of Georgia Tann, who kidnapped poor children and sold them to rich families in the 1920’s-1940’s through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Several of the children died due to neglect or abuse.

The book begins in 1939 with the story of Rill Foss aboard her family’s shantyboat, the Arcadia. Rill and her four younger siblings were river rats and they lived an adventurous life with their loving parents aboard their boat. They were certainly poor, but they were happy, and they had each other.

As the story begins, Rill’s mother, Queenie, is pregnant with her sixth child; when her labor begins, it’s clear that this will be a dangerous delivery and hospital care is needed. Rill’s father, Briny, takes Queenie into town and leaves Rill in charge. While their parents are gone, a group of policeman arrive and take the children into custody, where they are turned over to Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

Along with Rill’s story, the book also follows the story of Avery Stafford. Avery’s story takes place in present-day South Carolina and the book’s narrative weaves back and forth between Rill and Avery’s timelines and lives.

As someone who considers her sister her very best friend in the world, the tale of the siblings alone was enough to hook me. Happily, this book is also so much more: mystery, suspense, intrigue, history, romance, family-drama.

Before We Were Yours is currently number seven on the New York Times Bestseller list; the book has remained on the list for the past 29 weeks. Lisa Wingate has written several novels previously, and the library owns many of them. Before We Were Yours is currently available in hardcover as well as a “Book Club Bag”. Book Club Bags include 10 copies of a book for book club use; the copies check out for two months. Anyone with a Yankton Community Library card can check out the bags and we have 59 bags currently in circulation, with more being added all the time. Ask about them today!