I fell in love with Lisa Wingate's writing after reading The Prayer Box. Since then I have devoured all her books. When I read what this book was about, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. As I kept reading, my heart was broken by the story, but I kept reading to see just how things will turn out.
There was a point in the book about 50 pages from the end that I couldn't wait to see how she will pull it all together, but I did not want the book to end...it is that good. This book is probably my number two favorite book of all time and I will go back and reread it again just because the story is so intense and I might have missed something.
Lisa is masterful at weaving the past and present stories together with such expertise. This storyline is actually out of our nation's history. There was the Memphis Tennessee Children' Home Society that would actually steal and sell mostly poor but vulnerable children to the highest bidders. Georgia Tann is a cruel director of the home and what the children went through is horrifying and tragic.
This was 1939 and how this heartbreaking injustice could happen and how parents and kids could be ripped apart and many never reunited with each other. Present day is in Aiken, South Carolina where Avery Stafford is a federal prosecutor and has a wealthy family. A chance encounter leaves her with questions and sends her on a journey through family history. You will be entrenched in the life of twelve year old river gypsy Rill Foss as she and her brother and sisters are thrown into the Children's home. She struggles to keep her sisters and brother together in this dangerous setting.
This quote from Rill was heartbreaking. "I clench my teeth so hard the pain travels all the way to the top of my head. I'm glad for it. It's just a little ache, and I know where it comes from. I can stop it any time I want. The one in my heart is way bigger. I can't fix it no matter how hard I try. It scares me so much that I can't even breathe".
This is not just a story you read and forget, it is a story that will stay with you. It is a journey that I hope you will take...you will be angry, tearful and you will be left with hope. Hope that the heart never forgets where we belong.