Journey back to Memphis in 1939 where twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. When their father rushes their mother to the hospital on one stormy night, Rill is left in charge, until strangers arrive by force. Taken away from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured they will soon be reunited with their parents, but they quickly discover 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.
Jump ahead to the present day in Aiken, South Carolina where Avery Stafford is born into wealth and privilege. She seems to have it all, a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiance, and an elaborate wedding on the horizon. When Avery returns home to help her father during a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with challenging questions and prompts 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 throughout the country, Lisa Wingate's compelling tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we truly belong.
- Over two million copies sold
- New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publisher's Weekly bestseller
- Publishers Weekly's #3 Longest-Running Bestseller of 2017
- Winner of the Southern Book Prize
- If All Arkansas Read the Same Book selection
- Includes a new essay from the author about shantyboat life