Published by Ballantine Books on June 6th 2017
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Historical fiction about family – those we have lost, those we have found and those with painful secrets. I love books (and movies) that are based on true events. This books sheds light on a another dark time in our nation’s history – sad times for the children and families affected. A time where adoptions were not always legal and people who could pay for a child were given one no questions asked.
This book begins in Memphis in 1939 when twelve year old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings are awaiting the birth of another sibling. When their father leaves on a boat to take their Mother to the hospital after complications arise during labor, men board the river boat on which they live, thus changing their lives forever. They are left at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage and are at the mercy of the branch operator, Georgina Tann.
In the present day in Aiken, South Carolina, Avery Stafford, has returned home to assist her father with a health issue. While home she is approached by an elderly woman named May who takes her bracelet. When she meets with the woman, questions arise. Avery goes on a quest to learn the truth and to find out what connection this woman, May, has with her family.
This book goes back and forth from 1939 to the present day. As the story progresses it is obvious that the story lines are going to meet but how they get there is the real gem of this book. The Author does a brilliant job in blending fact with fiction. She is able to take this real life scandal and insert her characters within it to tell the story of two families torn apart and put back together again. The Author shows the reader how Georgina Tann stole the children not only from their families but from their culture, their way of life, from their own identity and created new lives for them.
This book is both heartbreaking, sad, hopeful and informative. How many lives were changed is astounding. The corruption that took many to pull off, the pain and suffering involved is really astounding. So much injustice and heartbreak caused to line the pocketbooks of those corrupt individuals. It is not a new story – people profiting off the pain of others..but it is an important one.