Sad but true story

Whangarei Report - - BOOKS -

Be­fore We Were Yours By Lisa Win­gate, Quer­cus Pub­lish­ing, $37

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Be­fore We Were Yours is based on a true story, which in a way isn’t easy to ac­cept, be­cause it’s a fam­ily story that’s im­mensely sad, but that de­liv­ers redemp­tion in the fi­nal pages.

It’s 1939 in Mem­phis when five young chil­dren are separated from their par­ents and de­liv­ered to an or­phan­age that is be­ing op­er­ated by a money-hun­gry char­la­tan who has lit­tle in­ter­est in the well­be­ing of the chil­dren that her team snatch from their par­ents.

The chil­dren be­come separated from each other and mostly their new lives are fraught and lonely.

The story jumps to the present day and to a very priv­i­leged young woman, Avery Stafford, born into a fam­ily with high level po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions and a pris­tine his­tory.

When her sen­a­tor fa­ther takes ill she is re­called from her fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor role to help him out while he re­cov­ers. While back home she chances on some in­for­ma­tion that doesn’t ring true to her knowl­edge of the fam­ily’s past, in par­tic­u­lar her mother. Avery pur­sues the scraps of an al­ter­na­tive past and even­tu­ally all is re­vealed.

An en­dear­ing and heart wrench­ing story that is mostly true. Sad but true. Lisa Win­gate has de­liv­ered a fine piece of his­tory wrapped up in a fam­ily’s plight and redemp­tion. —

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