9 Books to Read if You Loved Before We Were Yours

Lisa Wingate’s 2017 novel Before We Were Yours topped best-seller charts and fascinated readers.

It’s based on a real-life scandal involving Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, who kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country in the 1930’s. The novel spans decades, revealing how the lives of the missing children were shaped by what happened to them. We get alternating perspectives from 12-year-old Rill Foss, who has been kidnapped along with her four younger siblings in 1939, and Avery Stafford, a privileged woman in present day who discovers her grandmother has been keeping a dark secret about the family’s past.

If you’re looking for more emotional reads like Before We Were Yours, try these books! (#8 is one of my top ten favorite novels.)


9 Books to Read if You Loved Before We Were Yours


1. Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society by Judy Christie

From Goodreads: The incredible, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal–some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach.

2. Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

From Goodreads: Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers across the nation, this touching novel explores the tale within the frame and behind the lens—a journey of ambition, love, and the far-reaching effects of our actions.

3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

From Goodreads: A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, that beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.

4. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

From Goodreads: In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

5. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

From Goodreads:It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

6. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

This novel alternates between Ellis Island in 1911 and Manhattan in September 2001. From Goodreads: A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away….


7. The Gown by Jennifer Robson

From Goodreads: Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

8. The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Set in the pre and post–World War II era, this is the story of Homer Wells who grew up in an orphanage wanting to be of help to the doctor there, an obstetrician and abortionist. We follow Homer through out his life, as he eventually leaves the orphanage that’s been his only home and comes of age in the world.

9. This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger

From Goodreads: Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.


I hope these books bring you more of feelings you enjoyed in Before We Were Yours. If you’ve read any of them and BWWY , I’d like to know if you think the comparisons are fair. Or do you have any others you’d add to my list?


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