Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
This is a story that flips between present day and the 1930s. A family - the Floss' family - live along a river in a boat. They are poor, and have 5 children and another on the way. But they are happy and close. The mother - who the children call Queenie - goes into labor and has complications and needs a hospital. Briny - the father - doesn't know what to do, so runs for a neighbor to take her. The neighbor returns to the children to say that the there were twin babies and they both died during the birth. The eldest - Rill - is a young teenager, and is left in charge of her siblings until her mom and dad return from the hospital.
In the meantime, police come by and tell the kids that their parents have decided they can't care for them any more and that they will now be placed in a children's home and readopted. The kids fight, but are taken away and placed in the Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage. (which was a real place). The children are poorly treated here, and one by one are adopted off to rich people looking for children. Slowly Rill and her siblings are separated - possibly to never see each other again.
The other half of the book is about Avery who is an adult in Tennessee. She has come home to help her ailing father who is a Senator, and care for her grandmother who has recently been placed in a nursing home due to Alzheimer's. While Avery is in town, she tours a nursing home with her father and meets an older woman named May who swipes a bracelet Avery is wearing. When Avery goes back to retrieve it, so talks with May and discovers that somehow May knows her grandmother. Thus begins a hunt to find out her grandmother's past.
This was a fair book. I wanted to like it so much more - especially after 5000 reviews on Amazon. But it just seemed predictable. I knew what was going to happen and who the characters were going to be very near the beginning of the book. Maybe the author wasn't trying to keep that from us, but I doubt it. The story of the orphanage was horrible -especially since that was real and those were real people who did terrible things to children. But the rest of the story was just okay.
the story just wasn't well developed. We didn't learn enough about the 5 Foss children between the time that they were adopted and then what happened later in their lives. There was too much glossed over that made it hard to get invested in the book. I was sad I didn't like it more.
Bottom line - it is a decent book. It could have been better, but I am not sorry I read it.