Monday, July 23, 2018

Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

Ever read Anne of Green Gables?  Oliver Twist?  Jane Eyre?  All of these stories center around the travails of an orphaned child.  I remember reading them and being puzzled by the fact that orphans were considered second class citizens, at best, and purely evil at worst.  I couldn't understand how losing your family could make you a bad person, but apparently years ago that's exactly what people thought.  Then in the USA, in the 1920s, a woman named Georgia Tann opened an orphanage and began changing this perception about orphans.  Her charges were adopted by celebrities, wealthy politicians, folks from Hollywood.

Sounds sweet, right?  But this book, Before We Were Yours, is a fictional account of a family whose 5 children are stolen by Tann and are either murdered or sold for huge profit.  Turns out that this is what Tann was really up to, in real life.  She and her minions would steal children or tell parents their young ones had died when the kids had actually been sold. Youngsters who tried to buck the system or got too old to be placed were killed.  Ugh!

I recommend this book for two reasons, the first being that you learn about this incredible bit of American history, which still affects people today.  The other is that it IS a good story, well written if not rather predictable (for example, I knew the moment the heroine met the hero that they would become involved).  A real page turner!

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