Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

On a stormy night back in 1936 on a shantyboat docked in the Mississippi near Memphis, the five Foss children await the return of their parents. Their mom is pregnant with twins and the midwife urged their father to bring her to the hospital; these births are beyond the midwife’s capabilities to deliver. Soonafter the children are forcibly taken from the boat to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society with promises that they will be reunited with their parents soon. It is an awful place where the children suffer abuses at the hands of the adults and fellow residents. It is also where the Foss children are given new names and after some time new families.

In the present day Avery Stafford returns home to South Carolina to help her father, the senator, who is recovering from treatment. She loved her legal job in the capitol but finds herself being groomed for a senate seat she isn’t sure she wants and engaged to a man she isn’t sure she wants either. A chance encounter at a nursing home causes Avery to dig into her family’s past uncovering secrets the well placed Stafford clan may wish to keep silent.

This book will tug at your heartstrings, especially when you realize that the Tennessee Children’s Home Society was a real place. Children were taken from their parents, separated from their siblings, and parents who did manage to track their children to the Home were unable to get them back, with dubious legalities as the excuse. 

If you enjoyed The Orphan Train where the past met the present you’ll really enjoy this story.