Day 91 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project has me trying something new: Book Reviews. Growing up in a dysfunctional home in an impoverished neighborhood, reading a good book was an escape into another time and place. Today, I’m a grown up with a dysfunctional family! And though I no longer live in a poor neighborhood thanks to a good education, hard work, and a whole lot of God’s grace, there are few better ways for me to take a step back from my personal and professional life than to submerge myself wholeheartedly into the fictitious lives of the characters in a novel.
Contemporary Christian and historical fiction, chick lit, and recently the occasional light romance a la Debbie Macomber, are my genres of choice. As much as I love to read, I’m fairly selective and have had the same list of favorite Christian and secular authors for twenty-plus years. The bad news about that is many of my beloved authors like Maeve Binchy and Belva Plain have died in the last few years. It’s a heartache knowing I’ll never pick up a new book written by them…The good news is I’m broadening my horizons and exploring new authors. Lisa Wingate is one of them.
Before We Were Yours is the second novel I’ve read by this author. And while I just spoke of escaping to another place and time, the Memphis children’s home where this adaptation of real-life events unfolds in the summer of 1939 is not a place one would want to visit. The disturbing, riveting plot depicts the kidnapping and selling of poor children to wealthy families. Wingate delves deeply into how this brutalizes the Foss children in particular, who are taken from their carefree lives as river gypsies and plunged into brutality, grief, and loss that would be indescribable – apart from Wingate’s gifted ability to describe it. The damage done to these children, seen through the perceptive, wise eyes of Rill, the eldest daughter, is far reaching and has ramifications for generations to come. Yet, there is some redemption…As much as this story left me incredulous about the inhumane lengths to which some will go to get what they want, I was equally in awe of the resilience of the human spirit and its capacity to bounce back in order to ultimately get what it needs.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who truly believes we read to know that we are not alone, this book is one that will not only educate readers on one of America’s most notorious scandals, ultimately I believe it will remind you, as it did me, of a promise. For those of us who have had loved ones stolen away, or families ripped apart, through deception, death, divorce, or other dastardly deeds, one day, what we lost will be restored. Perhaps not in the same form, but if we’re open to receive, however that is manifested, God will restore.
How you might ask? I suppose you’ll just have to read Before We Were Yours to find out…
~ Pink Collar Coach