Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.
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Meet Lisa Wingate:
is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Wingate lives in the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas.
When Lisa writes a story she takes you there - the setting, the characters - it all comes to life. She engages you mentally, emotionally, personally. You visualize it, feel it, live it!
This book was another winner for me. The characters came alive! I lived the story through them. There were times when my blood boiled, my eyes leaked tears, and my heart felt like it was being pulled out of my chest. Other times, I celebrated, rejoiced, and anticipated what was to come. I wanted to read the ending just so I wouldn't have to deal with the suspense. It was like sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, fingers clenched, just waiting...
This book is written in past and present day, so there is quite a bit of flip flopping back and forth between the chapters. There were times when I read Rill's story and skipped over Avery, or vise versa, because I couldn't stop and switch characters. Then I would go back read the other to catch up. It really didn't matter either way, it only took me about 48 hrs to complete. It kept me up late, made me shirk my housekeeping duties, and will remain with me for a long time to come.
Why? Because although the characters in this book are fictional, the story has historical foundation. Those kinds of stories stick with you, they tug at your heart, they make you aware. It's sad to read about what happened. There's an odd twist of fate for those who turned out okay, survived the system, and enjoyed good lives. A joy and sadness parallel.
Don't miss this book! It's beautifully written, compelling, and incredibly well done. Thank you, Lisa!
I was blessed with a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not asked to review this book positively. All opinions are my own.
Other books by Lisa:
This was also an incredible read. Click on the link to check out my review.
The Sea Keepers Daughter
These are also amazing reads! If I am not mistaken these are all from the Carolina Heirloom Series.