Lisa Wingate, the author of Before We Were Yours, takes a little-known American scandal of the late 1930’s – 1940’s and turns it into a marvelous novel, weaving the fate of five children taken from their parents into the life of modern-day Avery Stafford, who, as the result of a chance encounter, discovers the unlikely connection.
The story is told from two points of view: Rill Foss, a 12-year-old girl living on the Mississippi River in a shanty boat with her parents and 4 younger siblings in the late 1930’s, and Avery Stafford, a present-day successful lawyer who also happens to be the daughter of a well-to-do South Carolina senator. An unexpected encounter with an elderly patient at a nursing home – and in particular a photograph in the patient’s room – leads Avery to start asking questions that lead her to her Grandma Judy; questions that may or may not expose a scandalous past in her wealthy, upstanding family. Unfortunately, Grandma Judy is herself in a memory care facility dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease and is unable to be of much help. On a trip to her family’s cottage on Edisto Island, Avery comes across more clues as well as some interesting information that happens to be in the hands of a good-looking and helpful real estate agent. Continue reading