Set against the seductive world of 1960s Rio de Janeiro, this is an exquisite debut novel about family secrets, divided loyalties, and the lengths we'll go to save ourselves and those we love.
Brazil, 1962: A young woman walks into the waters off a crowded beach and vanishes. A year later, her family - the once-golden family of their privileged little community - prepares to leave behind the seeming paradise of Brazil in the wake of their eldest daughter's presumed drowning. As they attend a series of goodbye parties and count down the days to their departure, we are taken into the heart of a family whose many charms belie more troubling truths.
There is the family's charismatic father, whose emotional extremes are becoming increasingly disturbing; his long-suffering wife, who made a mistake that has shattering consequences for the family she meant to protect; and their two remaining daughters, both on the precipice of joining the adult world with all its secrets and lies. Then there is the lost daughter herself, a woman undone by her attempts to grasp at happiness.
With settings ranging from the opulence of the legendary Copacabana Club to the poverty of Rio's fishing villages, this sensual and beautifully written novel reveals the soul of a family living in the shadow of tragedy, one poised on the brink of a new life, if only they could make peace with the past.
Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge-until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents-but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.
Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals-in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country-Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.
Advance praise for Before We Were Yours
"Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation's history and weaves a tale of enduring power. That Georgia Tann and her Memphis Tennessee Children's Home Society could actually exist, unraveling the lives of countless children, stealing their pasts and changing their futures, will give you chills. But the real feat of this stirring novel is how deeply Wingate plunges us into the heart and mind of twelve-year-old river gypsy Rill Foss. Rill's utterly singular voice will stay with you long after the last page is turned, as will Wingate's courage to follow her anywhere. . . . Vivid and affecting."-Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of Circling the Sun
"A powerful tale of family, of sisters, of secrets kept and secrets shared. I absolutely loved this book. I'm still basking in the afterglow, in shock at the true-crime elements, in awe at the journey of these characters who seem to have immortal souls."-Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"An unforgettable read . . . This captivating novel will quite likely break your heart, but because it's Lisa Wingate at the helm, you will not be left broken. She is a master storyteller and never fails to get to the heart of what makes us hold on to hope."-Susan Meissner, author of Secrets of a Charmed Life
"Lisa Wingate's heart-racing tale of a family ripped apart by the Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal rang so true I couldn't sleep until I knew their fate. Days later, I'm still haunted by the diabolical plot to steal and sell the most vulnerable children to high bidders, sanctioned by high-ranking officials who looked the other way."-Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home
"Tess Gerritsen's clever plotting and medical knowledge give her thrillers that extra edge. Expect a white-knuckle ride to very dark places."-Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles-the inspiration for the smash hit TNT series-continue their bestselling crime-solving streak, as they pursue a shadowy psychopath keeping secrets and taking lives.
Two separate homicides, at different locations, with unrelated victims, have more in common than just being investigated by Boston PD detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. In both cases, the bodies bear startling wounds-yet the actual cause of death is unknown. It's a doubly challenging case for the cop and the coroner to be taking on, at an inconvenient time for both of them. As Jane struggles to save her mother from the crumbling marriage that threatens to bury her, Maura grapples with the imminent death of her own mother-infamous serial killer Amalthea Lank.
While Jane tends to her mother, there's nothing Maura can do for Amalthea, except endure one final battle of wills with the woman whose shadow has haunted her all her life. Though succumbing to cancer, Amalthea hasn't lost her taste for manipulating her estranged daughter-by dangling a cryptic clue about the two bizarre murders Maura and Jane are desperately trying to solve.
But whatever the dying convict knows is only a piece of the puzzle. Soon the investigation leads to a secretive young woman who survived a shocking abuse scandal; an independent horror film that may be rooted in reality; and a slew of martyred saints who died cruel and unusual deaths. And just when Rizzoli and Isles think they've cornered a devilish predator, the long-buried past rears its head-and threatens to engulf more innocent lives, including their own.
Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan risked it all to protect Cara Delaney from the enemies who want her dead. The journey has led them from California to a remote mountain in the Scottish highlands--and earned Eve the distinction of becoming their next target. When, despite all precautions, Cara is taken, Eve must hunt down the very people who want to kill her in order to save the young girl. At a time in her life when she has more at stake than ever before, she unhesitatingly puts it all on the line in a pulse-pounding mission of rescue and survival.
Full of danger, intrigue and heart, Iris Johansen's Night and Day is a breathtaking, high-energy adventure that's sure to keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.