Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Themes and Colors
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Before We Were Yours, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours is a fictionalized account of the true crimes of Georgia Tann, who operated a child trafficking ring in Memphis, Tennessee (called the Tennessee Children’s Home Society), from 1924 until her death in 1950. Tann and her squad of corrupt policemen, judges, and politicians habitually kidnapped children and newborns of impoverished families and single mothers, changed their names to prevent birth families from tracking them down, and then essentially

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In Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, the Stafford family is widely known for their political prowess, dedication to public service, fabulous wealth, and moral uprightness. However, a scandal involving the abuse and neglect of elderly people in nursing homes that some of Senator Wells Stafford’s friends have ties to threatens the Staffords’ otherwise pristine reputation. With this scandal looming over her family, Avery Stafford (Well Stafford’s youngest daughter) begins to question her

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In Before We Were Yours, the Stafford family is among the wealthiest and most well-respected families in South Carolina—they are a political dynasty with a sterling reputation. The Foss family, on the other hand, belongs to the lower classes and struggles to make ends meet. The two families are separated by time and place, but Avery Stafford stumbles upon a connection that changes the course of her life—her grandmother, Judy Stafford, was born

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Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours provides a glimpse into the dark, abusive, and criminal world of Georgia Tann. Although the specific events and most of the characters in Wingate’s novel are fictional, Georgia Tann was a real woman who operated a child trafficking ring in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924 until 1950. In 1939, Rill Foss and her siblings—Camellia, Lark, Fern, and Gabion—are kidnapped by men who work for

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